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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-12-2007, 09:06 PM Thread Starter
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It Had to Happen Eventually

Does this really surprise anyone?

Guardsmen on border accused of running smuggling ring
By ALICIA A. CALDWELL
The Associated Press

LAREDO, Texas -- Three National Guardsmen assigned to the Texas-Mexico border were accused of running an immigrant smuggling ring after 24 immigrants were found inside a van that one of them was driving, a U.S. attorney said Monday.

The three, arrested late Thursday and Friday, were arraigned Monday on a federal charge of conspiring to transport illegal immigrants.

Pfc. Jose Rodrigo Torres, 26, and Sgt. Julio Cesar Pacheco, 25, both of Laredo, and Sgt. Clarence Hodge Jr., 36, of Fort Worth, were arrested near Laredo.

A Border Patrol agent found 24 illegal immigrants inside a van Torres was driving along Interstate 35 near Cotulla, Texas, about 68 miles north of the border, prosecutors said. Torres was in uniform at the time of his arrest Thursday.

The van was leased by the National Guard, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Prosecutors accused Hodge of helping Torres pass through a Border Patrol checkpoint on the highway by making it look like the two were conducting Guard business.

Pacheco was accused of recruiting soldiers to transport the migrants for $1,000 to $3,500 a trip. He and Hodge were arrested Friday.

All three soldiers are assigned to border duties as part of Operation Jumpstart, President Bush's initiative to place Guard troops at the border to help local and federal authorities with immigration enforcement. All the soldiers are volunteers.

The three soldiers used cell phone text messaging to negotiate the details, price and number of people who would be smuggled north, according to a complaint filed in court Monday.

"tell them ill only do 1 run @ no more than 20 people @ $150 a person and i want 2 leave @ 1930 hrs and ill go 2 San Anto if they want," Torres typed to Hodge hours before Torres was arrested, according to the complaint.

A message later that day from Pacheco instructed Torres that a trip was a go, with a promised payment of $3,500 for the delivery of 24 illegal immigrants, the document said.

"24 will b tuff 2 fit but ill try," Torres wrote in response, the complaint said.

Torres told federal investigators that it was his seventh immigrant smuggling trip. Torres implicated Hodge as the soldier who waved his van through the checkpoint, the complaint said.

Investigators say Hodge pointed to Pacheco as the man who recruited and paid him. Hodge told investigators that he had been paid for helping smuggle a load of immigrants in May but that the men had not worked out payment for the most recent load.

Texas Adjutant General Lt. Gen. Chuck Rodriguez said he was extremely disappointed to learn of the arrests.

"Our military service members have an affirmative obligation to be actively supportive of our law enforcement partners at every level of government," Rodriguez said. "This is our duty. Any breach of the public's trust and military law by our soldiers will be thoroughly investigated."

The soldiers are each being held by civilian law enforcement authorities on $75,000 bond.

Texas military forces will determine whether the men will be charged under military justice, as well, according to a statement issued by the Texas National Guard.

A preliminary hearing was scheduled for June 19 in Laredo.

It was unclear whether the men had hired lawyers. A man who answered the phone at Pacheco's house said no one would talk to reporters. Calls to telephone listings for the other two men were not successful.

Pacheco, in an interview a year ago with The Associated Press when he was first moved to the border, said he was eager for the assignment in his hometown of Laredo.

"That's why we're here, to help them out," said Pacheco, who has served in Iraq and Europe. "I'm very lucky because they're (fellow soldiers in Europe) going back to Iraq, and I get to serve here in my hometown."




Star-Telegram.com | 06/11/2007 | Guardsmen on border accused of running smuggling ring
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-12-2007, 11:28 PM
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If politicians are being bought right and left, why be surprised about a few National Guardsmen?
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-13-2007, 05:48 AM
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It shows why our approach is all wrong. As long as there is a cash incentive, people will find a way across. Until this country realizes the focus needs to be on the employer and that we need a national ID card based on tamper-proof biometrics to insure those hired are here legally, it will never be solved. The business lobby does not want it solved, which is why they have sicced their stooge squad on the Immigration Bill. They want us all to continue the status quo, the creation of a slave class of non-citizens they will use on one hand to make money, while their stooges push racist shit on us about the Mexicans themselves so we think brown people are the problem when the real culprit is American business. Goebbels would be proud of them. If we don't want Mexicans here, we need to quit inviting them here and quit giving them jobs so they can stay here. Fences, soldiers, deportations, all of that is bullshit, utter and complete waste of time and money bullshit.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address

Last edited by FeelTheLove; 06-13-2007 at 05:50 AM.
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