Mastermind Of Migrant Smuggling Operation That Involved Fort Hood Soldiers Sentenced

news

A federal judge sentenced a Houston man to nearly two years in prison for conspiring with a Harlingen man and active duty soldiers stationed at Fort Hood to smuggle undocumented immigrants north throughout the country.


U.S. District Judge Rolando Olvera sentenced Victoriano Zamora-Jasso, 54, to 21 months in prison, the United States Attorney Office, Southern District of Texas, announced in a press release.

Zamora-Jasso, an undocumented immigrant, is expected to be deported after serving his sentence.

According to the indictment, Zamora-Jasso began supplying undocumented immigrants to Arnold Gracia, 48, of Harlingen, in early 2014. Gracia would transport them through the Sarita checkpoint and recruited four active duty soldiers stationed at Fort Hood to transport the undocumented immigrants further north, according to the USAO.

Between March and September 2014, the soldiers would hide the undocumented immigrants under military gear and made many successful trips throughout the course of the conspiracy, according to the press release.

Those soldiers have already been sentenced.

Brandon Troy Robbins, 24, of San Antonio, was sentenced to 20 months in prison. Eric Alexander Rodriguez, 25, of Odem, was sentenced to a year in prison, and Christopher David Wix, 24, of Abilene, and Yashira Perez-Morales, 28, of Watertown, New York, were sentenced to a year and one day in prison, according to the USAO. Those sentences were handed down in 2015 and 2016.

Gracia was sentenced to a little more than six years in prison for his role.

As for Zamora-Jasso, he pleaded guilty on Jan. 29 on the eve of jury selection and will remain in custody pending transfer to the Bureau of Prisons, according to the press release.

———

©2018 The Brownsville Herald (Brownsville, Texas). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

WATCH NEXT:

Staff Sgt. John Eller conducts pre-flights check on his C-17 Globemaster III Jan. 3 prior to taking off from Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii for a local area training mission. Sgt. Eller is a loadmaster from the 535th Airlift Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

CUCUTA, Colombia — The Trump administration ratcheted up pressure Saturday on beleaguered Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, dispatching U.S. military planes filled with humanitarian aid to this city on the Venezuelan border.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan speaks at the annual Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert

ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT (Reuters) - Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Saturday he had not yet determined whether a border wall with Mexico was a military necessity or how much Pentagon money would be used.

President Donald Trump on Friday declared a national emergency in a bid to fund his promised wall at the U.S.-Mexico border without congressional approval.

Read More Show Less
A pair of U.S. Navy Grumman F-14A Tomcat aircraft from Fighter Squadron VF-211 Fighting Checkmates in flight over Iraq in 2003/Department of Defense

Since the sequel to the 1986 action flick (and wildly successful Navy recruitment tool) Top Gun, was announced, there's been a lot of speculation on what Top Gun: Maverick will be about when it premieres in June 2020. While the plot is still relatively unclear, we know Tom Cruise will reprise his role as Naval aviator Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, and he'll be joined by a recognizable costar: The iconic F-14 Tomcat.

It looks like the old war plane will be coming out of retirement for more than just a cameo. A number of recently surfaced photos show an F-14 Tomcat aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, alongside Cruise and members of the film's production crew, the Drive's Tyler Rogoway first reported earlier this week.

Read More Show Less

D-Day veteran James McCue died a hero. About 500 strangers made sure of it.

"It's beautiful," Army Sgt. Pete Rooney said of the crowd that gathered in the cold and stood on the snow Thursday during McCue's burial. "I wish it happened for every veteran's funeral."

Read More Show Less

President Donald Trump claims the $6.1 billion from the Defense Department's budget that he will now spend on his border wall was not going to be used for anything "important."

Trump announced on Friday that he was declaring a national emergency, allowing him to tap into military funding to help pay for barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Read More Show Less