Fort Bliss has been rocked by scandal as US Government officials investigate an illegal immigration smuggling operation supposedly run by active duty troops from the Texas army post.
According to KFOX, soldiers Joseph Cleveland and Marco Antonio Nava, Jr. were arrested by US Border Patrol officers Saturday while attempting to smuggle two Mexican nationals into the US.
“We are aware that two Fort Bliss Soldiers have been arrested,” Fort Bliss spokesman Mike Brantley 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 that he and Cleveland had smuggled illegals in for profit before- and that they weren’t alone. In fact, Nava claimed an entire smuggling ring existed, led by a Private First class and involving other participants as well.
Six soldier smugglers had successfully brought illegals through the checkpoint, getting paid $1,000 each for every successful trip. When asked how they accomplished such a task, they remarked that the illegals were simply sitting in the back seat, hiding “in plain sight” as they passed through the checkpoint.
Interestingly enough, this isn’t the first time US troops have smuggled illegals across the border. According to internal documents. “I know we had previously received reports that military personnel were involved in smuggling,” one official stated in supporting documents.
US Government documentation indicates that the two illegals captured on Saturday’s attempt are “frequent flyers” over the border, with Jose Rebollar-Osorio having three prior removals and Marcelino Oliveros-Padilla also having three prior removals as well as an immigration-related conviction.
In addition to being home of the 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss is also home to the El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC) who were involved in Fast and Furious-related cases in which the Justice Department and ATF secretly allowed thousands of weapons to “walk” over the border into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.
Fort Bliss Public Affairs Officials have yet to respond at this time. Updates will be made as they become available.
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