THREE NATIONAL GUARDSMEN ACCUSED OF TRANSPORTING ILLEGALS IN TEXAS!

IN UNIFORM AT THE TIME OF ARREST WITH ILLEGALS IN THE BACK!

A criminal complaint has been filed in federal court charging three Texas National Guardsmen with conspiring to transport illegal aliens, United States Attorney Don DeGabrielle announced today.

Jose Rodrigo Torres, 26, and Julio Cesar Pacheco, 25, both of Laredo, TX, and Clarence Hodge, Jr. 36, of Fort Worth, TX are each charged in the criminal complaint. All three defendants appeared before a United States Magistrate Judge this morning and have been ordered released on a $75,000 cash or surety bond. A preliminary examination hearing has been set for June 19, 2007 at 11:00 a.m. for all three defendants.

According to the allegations in the criminal complaint, during the late evening hours of Thursday, June 7, 2007, Torres was arrested by Border Patrol agents after 24 illegal aliens were discovered in the van he was driving along Interstate 35 near Cotulla, TX. Torres was in uniform at the time of his arrest. Hodge and Pacheco were arrested on Friday, June 8, 2007. Hodge is alleged to have assisted Torres to pass through the I-35 Border Patrol checkpoint station without inspection the previous day by approaching Torres’ vehicle to make it appear that the two were conducting National Guard business. Pacheco is accused of recruiting the guardsmen to transport undocumented aliens and paying $1,000 to $3,500 for each smuggling trip. The complaint alleges several similar smuggling trips had been conducted previously.

“The alleged actions of these three men is disturbing and will be addressed, but should not and does not diminish the outstanding contribution of the thousands of Texas National Guardsmen who daily do their duty alongside federal law enforcement officials to secure the borders of our nation,” said United States Attorney Don DeGabrielle.

If indicted by a federal grand jury of the conspiracy charge and subsequently convicted, each defendant faces a maximum of 10 years in federal prison, without parole, and a $250,000 fine.