Navy Sailors Admit Smuggling Mexican Immigrants

AP, May 31, 2006

SAN DIEGO—Two active-duty Navy sailors have pleaded guilty to smuggling illegal Mexican immigrants through a visa processing office during after-hours at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Petty Officers 2nd Class Antonio Pina and Jose Hernandez Valdez each face three years in federal prison for smuggling people through the San Ysidro Port of Entry building late the night of Jan. 31.

Pina worked as military police officer at a shore patrol station at San Ysidro, which links San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico. Court records show that he unlocked a door 10 feet from the border to let six illegal immigrants guided by Hernandez pass through the station and out to a waiting SUV on the U.S. side.

Hernandez, a Mexican citizen, has also agreed to be deported. According to court records, he holds an expired green card and falsely claimed to be a U.S. citizen when he enlisted in the Navy in 2000.

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