Two Texas National Guardsmen must serve at least three years in federal prison for helping smuggle illegal immigrants from Mexico through a checkpoint.

Clarence Hodge Jr. and Jerry Zuniga pleaded guilty last August to charges of conspiracy to transport illegal immigrants during 2007. A federal judge in Laredo on Tuesday sentenced Hodge to 38 months in prison, and ordered 36 months in prison for Zuniga.

The smuggling ring was uncovered in June when 24 illegal immigrants were found inside a National Guard-leased van that was stopped about 90 miles (145 kilometers) southwest of San Antonio.