BROWNSVILLE, Texas — Two former U.S. Army soldiers based out of Fort Hood have been sent to prison for their role in a human smuggling operation where they had been using their uniform to get around immigration checkpoints.
Last week, former soldiers Eric Rodriguez and Brandon Robbins along with convicted human smuggler Arnoldo Garcia, went before a U.S. District Judge in this border city for their sentencing hearing, court information that Breitbart Texas had access to revealed. During the hearing, the judge sentenced Rodriguez to 14 months in prison and 12 months of supervised release, while Robbins received 20 months in prison and two years of supervised release. Garcia, the human smuggler who is believed to have played a leadership role in the scheme received more than seven years in prison and three years of supervised release. In federal court, supervised release is a form of probation where the criminal must wear monitoring devices and be subjected to regular checkins and random screenings.
As previously reported by Breitbart Texas, the case against the soldiers began in 2014 when U.S. Homeland Security Investigations started to unravel an large smuggling operation using U.S. Military personnel. On September 2014, HSI agents arrested Rodriguez at the Sarita checkpoint about 70 miles north of the Texas border when he drove a vehicle with two illegal aliens hiding under military clothing spread in the vehicle. At the time of the arrest Rodriguez was in his military uniform. During questioning by HSI agents, he admitted to having driven through the checkpoint at least two other times. In October 2014 Robbins and 21-year-old Christopher Wix. All three soldiers pleaded guilty by August 2015, which is when authorities arrested 25-year-old Yashira Marie Perez, a fourth soldier tied to the smuggling operation. Wix was sentenced in 2015 to a 12 month prison sentence. Perez pleaded guilty in August 2015 and is awaiting her sentencing hearing.