Two Army soldiers from Fort Bliss are staring down a prison sentence of 10 years for trying to smuggle illegals across the U.S. border.
The soldiers, 19-year-old Marco Antonio Nava Jr. and 25-year-old Joseph Edmond Cleveland, were willing to risk it all for just $1,500 and ended up pleading guilty Tuesday to human smuggling, The Associated Press reports.
They could also face a fine of up to $250,000 and three years of probation.
The two will be sentenced next year Feb. 9, and in the meantime, a federal judge in Corpus Christi ruled they can stay out of jail while on bond. The judge, not being tied down to the terms of the plea agreement, can even sentence the men to more than 10 years in prison.
Both men donned civilian clothes and attempted to drive two Mexicans across the Fulfurrias U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint June 18 in South Texas, but were caught. The two Mexicans were sitting in the back passenger seats.
A border patrol agent asked one of the Mexicans, Marcelino Oliveros-Padilla, where he was heading in English. Oliveros-Padilla responded: “San Antonio.”
Another question tripped him up. The agent asked Oliveros-Padilla what his name was. He responded: “San Antonio.”
Agents arrested all four at the checkpoint. Neither of the Mexicans had proper identification.
After extensive questioning, the illegals fessed up and admitted they had entered the U.S. eight days prior and stayed at trailer homes. The location of those trailer homes is still unknown. Following their entrance into the U.S., they were informed they would be picked up and driven to Houston. On June 18, Nava showed up in a black Mazda, and the two men got in.
Nava and Cleveland were part of the 377th Transportation Company, 1st Armed Division in El Paso.
In 2015, border patrol agents arrested 337,000 illegals trying to enter the U.S.
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