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A couple in Houston, Texas, was sentenced to federal prison in association with a conspiracy to smuggle scores of illegal aliens into the United States, according to federal authorities.
A news release from the United States attorney’s office in the Southern District of Texas says that on Monday, 32-year-old Kevin Kerr and 30-year-old Brianna Branch were sentenced to 85 months and 70 months in federal prison, respectively. The two pleaded guilty in August. They will also serve three years of supervised release after their prison terms are up.
The sentence was handed down by Judge Janis Jack, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1994 and assumed senior status in 2011.
The Justice Department’s release goes on to explain that the court found Kerr and Branch to be leaders of a transnational smuggling operation that took place over a three-month period earlier this year.
Kerr and Branch were found to have smuggled over 100 illegal aliens past Border Patrol checkpoints and recruited drivers from the Houston area to travel to southern Texas in order to herd those people into utility trailers. The release notes that the “dangerous manner” of the smuggling operation subjected those being transported to “unnecessary and harsh conditions” along the way. The investigation was conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations component.
Four other members of this smuggling ring have also pleaded guilty in the case and are still awaiting criminal sentences. Kerr and Branch will remain in custody until being sent to a yet-to-be-determined U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility.