CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A Houston couple has been ordered
to federal prison for knowingly and intentionally conspiring to transport
illegal aliens, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
Kevin Kerr, 32, and Brianna Branch, 30, pleaded guilty
Today, Senior U.S. District Judge Janis Jack order Kerr
to serve 85 months in federal prison, while Branch received a70-month term
of imprisonment. Both will also serve three years of supervised release
following the completion of their sentence.
In imposing the sentence, the court determined Kerr and
Branch to be leaders of the conspiracy which spanned a three-month period in
early 2019. The court noted the dangerous manner in which the aliens were
Kerr and Branch were held accountable for the smuggling
of more than 100 aliens, including several minors, past South Texas Border
Patrol (BP) checkpoints. The couple would recruit drivers from the Houston area
to travel to South Texas and place the undocumented aliens in utility trailers
- in unnecessary and harsh conditions.
They will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S.
Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
A total of four other members of the conspiracy have also
pleaded guilty for their roles in the conspiracy and are pending sentencing.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security
Investigations conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Neel Kapur
is prosecuting the case.