LAREDO, Texas — Two men assigned to Fort Hood, Texas, were charged in federal court Tuesday of attempting to smuggle two Mexican citizens to San Antonio, Texas.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Border Patrol are investigating this case.
Emmanuel Oppongagyare, 20, and Ralph Gregory Saint-Joie, 18, were charged with human smuggling. Saint-Joie is an active duty member of the U.S. Army, while Oppongagyare is a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard. Both men are stationed at Fort Hood.
According to the charges, on June 13, Oppongagyare approached the Hebbronville Border Patrol Checkpoint driving a sedan. Saint-Joie was allegedly riding as passenger. Both men were wearing their military uniforms. During primary inspection, Oppongagyare allegedly told authorities they were traveling from Zapata, Texas, to San Antonio.
Border Patrol agents referred them to secondary inspection, where agents discovered two Mexican noncitizens in the trunk of the vehicle.
The complaint alleges that Oppongagyare and Saint-Joie expected to receive an undetermined amount of money to pick up the individuals in McAllen and transport them to San Antonio. They were allegedly told to wear their U.S. Army uniforms in order to avoid questioning from authorities.
If convicted, Oppongagyare and Saint-Joie face up to 10 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Bajew, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting the case.