Two soldiers in uniform busted trying to smuggle immigrants across the border in car's trunk

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Jun. 16 2021, Published 9:05 p.m. ET

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Two soldiers from Fort Hood in Texas allegedly attempted to smuggle two undocumented Mexican immigrants across the border to San Antonio.

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Emmanuel Oppongagyare, 20, and Ralph Gregory Saint-Joie, 28, face federal charges in connection to the smuggling operation. Saint-Joie is an active duty member of the U.S. Army, while Oppongagyare is from the Pennsylvania National Guard.

Oppongagyare approached the Hebbronville (Texas) Border Patrol Checkpoint driving a sedan on the morning of June 13. Saint-Joie was riding in the passenger seat, according to federal prosecutors.

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Both men were wearing their uniforms, according to the criminal complaint.

Oppongagyare allegedly told authorities they were traveling from Zapata to San Antonio, Texas, prosecutors noted.

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Law enforcement referred them to a secondary inspection, where they discovered two undocumented Mexican citizens in the trunk of the vehicle, according to prosecutors.

According to the complaint, the two soldiers expected to be paid an undetermined amount of money to pick up people and transport them to San Antonio.

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The pairs were allegedly told to wear their U.S. Army uniforms in order to avoid questioning from border patrol officers.

If convicted, Oppongagyare and Saint-Joie face up to 10 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 fine.

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