Criminal JusticeImmigration & BorderIssuesFort Hood Soldiers Sentenced to Federal Prison After Pleading Guilty to Smuggling Illegal Aliens

The two defendants had participated in a conspiracy that involved smuggling illegal aliens from McAllen to San Antonio.
March 28, 2022
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A federal judge sentenced two soldiers to prison last week after they pleaded guilty to charges of human smuggling, according to a statement by the U.S. Department of Justice. 

Isaiah Gore, 21, and Denerio Williams, 22, were stationed at Fort Hood and pleaded guilty on December 2 of last year. They both remain free and will be instructed by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons on the location where they will report to begin their prison sentences.

Federal Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo sentenced Gore to 30 months in prison and Williams to 24 months in prison. Both defendants will also complete three years of supervised release following their incarceration.

According to the press release, Marmoloejo contended that the two service members were “not the average citizen,” and should face a stiffer penalty as active duty soldiers in the U.S. Army. The judge also reportedly pointed out that they committed the crimes in their uniforms, making it less likely that they would be detected.

The DOJ indicated that one of two other soldiers, Emmanuel Oppongagyare and Ralph Gregory Saint-Joie, had eventually confessed to investigators that Gore recruited them to transport illegal aliens from McAllen to San Antonio. Last summer, border agents apprehended the uniformed service members at a border patrol checkpoint in Hebbronville as they were attempting to smuggle illegal aliens.

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Oppongagyare and Saint-Joie pleaded guilty last August but have not yet been sentenced. Another defendant, Ivory Palmer, 21, pleaded guilty on January 10 of this year and is awaiting sentencing. 

The DOJ stated that Oppongagyare, Saint-Joie, Williams, and Palmer “served a role in the conspiracy as drivers who would travel to locations in Texas to transport the aliens in exchange for money.”

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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a reporter for The Texan. He has coached high school competitive speech and debate and has also been involved in community theater and politics. A native Texan, Hayden served as a delegate at the Republican Party of Texas Convention in 2016. He is on track to receive a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Liberty University. In his free time, Hayden is known to take walks around the neighborhood while listening to random music on Spotify.