LAREDO, Texas — Two soldiers who were assigned to Fort Hood were arrested at the Texas border Sunday after they allegedly tried to smuggle two undocumented immigrants, federal prosecutors say.
Emmanuel Oppongagyare, 20, and Ralph Gregory Saint-Joie, 18, were stopped at the Hebronville Checkpoint, east of Laredo.
Saint-Joie is an active duty member of the U.S. Army, while Oppongagyare is from the Pennsylvania National Guard. Both men were stationed at Fort Hood, according to the criminal complaint.
Prosecutors say both were in full uniform and they told authorities they were traveling from Zapata to San Antonio.
During a secondary inspection, prosecutors say border agents found two undocumented immigrants hiding in the trunk of the soldiers’ car.
The complaint alleges they expected to be paid an undetermined amount of money to pick up the individuals in McAllen and take them to San Antonio. The feds say the soldiers were told to wear their U.S. Army uniforms to avoid questioning from authorities.
It didn’t work. Oppongagyare and Saint-Joie were arrested and are expected to face a federal judge in Laredo Tuesday.
If convicted, they each face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
BP and Homeland Security Investigations are conducting the investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Bajew is prosecuting the case.
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