CORPUS CHRISTI (Covering Katy News) – A Houston couple has been ordered to federal prison for knowingly and intentionally conspiring to transport illegal aliens. The sentencing was announced Monday by U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
Kevin Kerr, 32, and Brianna Branch, 30, pleaded guilty Aug. 29.
U.S. District Judge Janis Jack order Kerr to serve 85 months, more than seven years, in federal prison.
Branch received a 70-month term, nearly 6 years 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 transported.
Kerr and Branch were held accountable for the smuggling of more than 100 aliens, including several minors, past South Texas Border Patrol checkpoints.
The couple would recruit drivers from the Houston area to travel to South Texas and place the undocumented aliens in utility trailers in what the prosecutors called "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.