September 11, 2008

Soldier gets 2 years for immigrant smuggling

LAREDO, Texas (AP) - A federal judge in Laredo sentenced 27-year-old Army National Guardsman to two years in prison today for his role in an immigrant smuggling scheme.

Private First Class Jose Rodrigo Torres was arrested in June 2007 after driving through a Border Patrol checkpoint in a van loaded with 24 undocumented immigrants. Prosecutors say the van was leased by the Texas Army National Guard.

Torres and another guardsman pleaded guilty in August 2007 to conspiracy to transport illegal immigrants. He has remained in custody since his arrest. Sergeant Clarence Hodge Jr. of Fort Worth was sentenced in February to three years and two months in prison.

Another guardsman, Sergeant Julio Cesar Pacheco, has also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport immigrants but hasn't yet been sentenced.

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Should the Texas State Legislature pass immigration enforcement laws in 2009?