Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Fort Hood soldiers sentenced in Texas human trafficking case

Active-duty service members who transported undocumented migrants in car trunks receive harsher prison term as they are ‘not the average citizen’

Bevan Hurley
Sunday 27 March 2022 15:56 BST
Migrants attempting to cross the Texas border
Migrants attempting to cross the Texas border (Associated Press)

Two US Army soldiers stationed at Fort Hood base in Texas have been sentenced to federal prison for their roles in an illegal human smuggling operation.

Isaiah Gore, 21, and Denerio Williams, 22, were among a group of soldiers who picked up undocumented immigrants and drove them elsewhere in the state while wearing their uniforms, according to a release from the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas.

Gore acted as a recruiter, paying soldiers $2,000 per trip, and Williams went along on one trip, US Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery said.

The pair pleaded guilty in December to conspiring to transport undocumented immigrants within the state and were sentenced to 30 and 24 months respectively on Friday.

District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo said that the harsh sentence was justified because Gore and Williams were “not the average citizen”.

She added that those involved in the scheme deliberately transported the immigrants while wearing uniforms knowing that it would help them evade arrest.

Both men remain out on bond and will surrender to a US Bureau of Prisons facility “in the near future”. Gore has been discharged from the army.

They will have to serve three years of supervised release after their sentences.

The smuggling operation was uncovered after two other active-duty soldiers were caught with two undocumented migrants in the trunk of their vehicle at a border checkpoint in Texas on June 13, officials said.

Those men, Emmanuel Oppongagyare and Ralph Gregory Saint-Joie, pleaded guilty in August and are awaiting sentencing, prosecutors said.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in