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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Texas

Monday, January 29, 2018

Another Guilty in Fort Hood Soldier Alien Smuggling Case

 BROWNSVILLE, Texas A 51-year old who had been illegally residing in Houston has entered a guilty plea to conspiracy to transport and harbor undocumented aliens and illegal re-entry after deportation, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.


Victoriano Zamora-Jasso aka “Tata,” made an appearance today in federal court today on the eve of jury selection.


In early 2014, Zamora-Jasso began supplying aliens to Arnold Gracia, 47, from Harlingen. Gracia would then make arrangements with others to transport the aliens through the immigration checkpoint at Sarita. Gracia recruited Brandon Troy Robbins, 23, of San Antonio, Eric Alexander Rodriguez, 24, of Odem, Texas, Christopher David Wix, 23, of Abilene, and Yashira Perez-Morales, 27, from Watertown, New York – all then active duty soldiers stationed at Ft. Hood - to transport and deliver the aliens further north.


The conspiracy continued from approximately March to September of 2014. The soldiers would conceal the aliens under their military gear and made many successful trips during the course of the conspiracy. 


Zamora-Jasso was indicted in 2016 and arrested after a traffic stop in Conroe in July 2017. Today, he admitted his involvement in the conspiracy and to being a previously convicted alien who returned after deportation in 2013.


Gracia and all the soldiers were previously sentenced in 2015 and 2016 with Gracia receiving a 73-month sentence while Robbins, Rodriguez, Wix and Perez-Morales received sentences of 20, 12 months, 12 months and a day and five years probation, respectively.  


Sentencing for Zamora-Jasso is scheduled for May 9, 2018, before U.S. District Judge Rolando Olvera. At that time, he faces up to 10 years imprisonment and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.  


He will remain in custody pending that hearing.


Immigration and Customs Enforcements Homeland Security Investigation conducted the investigation with the assistance of Customs and Border Protection. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Oscar Ponce and Angel Castro are prosecuting the case.  

Updated January 29, 2018