Fort Hood soldiers sentenced in immigrant smuggling case

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Two soldiers stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, were sentenced to prison on Friday after they pleaded guilty to charges in connection to transporting immigrants in the country illegally late last year. 

U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery said Friday soldiers Isaiah Gore and Denerio Williams were sentenced after pleading guilty in December.

U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo sentenced Gore to 30 months in prison and issued a 24-month sentence to Williams. Both soldiers received three years of supervised release after their prison time is up. 

The judge said the men deserved tougher sentences since they are “not the average citizen” and members of the military. 

In June of 2021, authorities began an investigation after they found that two other men, Emmanuel Oppongagyare and Ralph Saint-Joie, had undocumented immigrants in the trunks of their cars at a Border Patrol location in Hebbronville. 

When they were taken into custody, both were wearing their U.S. Army uniforms, according to the Department of Justice.

Upon further investigation, authorities found that Gore recruited the men to pick up the immigrants from McAllen, Texas, and drive them to San Antonio. They also found that Oppongagyare, Saint-Joie and Williams each served in the operation as drivers who would transport migrants in exchange for money.

Oppongagyare and Saint-Joie pleaded guilty last year to charges related to the investigation, but have yet to receive their sentencing. 

Ivory Palmer was also found in the investigation to be part of the scheme. He has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing. 

Gore has been discharged from the Army. 

Tags Army Fort Hood illegal immigrants U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery

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