U.S. soldiers arrested in alleged illegal immigration smuggling ring

Ft. Bliss, Texas

U.S. soldiers arrested in alleged illegal immigration smuggling ring

U.S. authorities are investigating an illegal immigration smuggling operation allegedly run by active duty military soldiers out of the Ft. Bliss U.S. Army post in El Paso, Texas. Ft. Bliss is headquarters for El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC), a federal tactical operational intelligence center.

According to sources and documents, two U.S. soldiers, Marco Antonio Nava, Jr. and Joseph Cleveland, were arrested last Saturday by border patrol officers at Falfurias, Texas Border Patrol Station Checkpoint attempting to smuggle two Mexican citizens into the U.S. The Mexicans were riding in the back seat of the car. Upon their arrest, the soldiers, who were not in uniform at the time, informed Border Patrol agents they are part of the 377 TC Company at Ft. Bliss.

“We are aware that two Fort Bliss Soldiers have been arrested,” Mike Brantley, a spokesman for Fort Bliss, said. “We can confirm they are both assigned to the 377 Transportation Company here; however, as this is an ongoing investigation we cannot comment further.”

Nava told investigators it was the second time that he and Cleveland had smuggled in illegal immigrants for pay and, during a debriefing, described a smuggling ring allegedly involving other Ft. Bliss soldiers. Nava identified a leader of the group as a Private First Class, as well as other participants. He said he wasn’t sure how long the ring had been operating. Attempts to seek comment and information from Ft. Bliss were not successful.

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