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Corpus Christi, Texas – A Houston-area man has been sentenced to nearly two years in prison for trying to smuggle immigrants in furniture after three people were found in a plastic-wrapped dresser that was nailed shut.

Federal prosecutors say 23-year-old Yabar Ayan Portes-Arevalo of Katy was sentenced Monday in Corpus Christi to 21 months.

Portes-Arevalo in February was convicted of transporting immigrants living in the country illegally and endangering their lives. He could lose his status as a legal permanent U.S. resident.

Investigators say Portes-Arevalo in December was driving a pickup truck and hauling a plastic-wrapped couch and dresser. He stopped at the Border Patrol checkpoint near Sarita.

Authorities say the driver appeared nervous so the load was examined. Agents removed the plastic and found three people hidden inside the couch and three more inside the dresser.

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