U.S. authorities are investigating an illegal immigration smuggling operation that is allegedly being run by active duty soldiers out of the Ft. Bliss U.S. Army post in El Paso, Texas.
Marco Antonio Nava, Jr. and Joseph Cleveland were arrested by border patrol officers at Falfurias, Texas Border Patrol Station Checkpoint last Saturday for attempting to smuggle two Mexican citizens into the United States, according to sources. The two soldiers, who were not in uniform at the time, informed the border patrol agents that they were a part of 377 TC Company at Fort Bliss.
Nava told investigators that this was not the first time he and Cleveland had smuggled illegal immigrants into the country for pay. This had been the second time he had done it and said that there were other soldiers involved in an illegal immigration smuggling ring. He identified several people involved in the ring, including a leader for the ring who was a Private First Class.
Nava told investigators that one week prior to his arrest, six illegal immigrants were smuggled in by soldiers from Fort Bliss. They picked up the immigrants from a trailer and brought them to a home 30 minutes north of Houston, Texas. Each soldier was paid $1,000 for their role in the illegal immigration smuggle. Border patrol agents intercepted more soldiers on a trip scheduled for June 18. The soldiers were expected to make $1,500 each. Border patrol agents examined 6 soldiers text messages involved in the illegal immigration smuggling ring.
Two Mexican citizens, Jose Rebollar-Osorio and Marcelino Oliveros-Padilla were intercepted in the June 19 smuggling attempt and had previously been removed from the United States three times in the past.