Akwesasne Resident’s Tip Leads to the Arrest of 6 During Alien Smuggling Attempt
HOGANSBURG, NY — On February 29, U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Massena Station responded to a request for assistance from the New York State Police (NYSP), which was initiated by a phone call from an Akwesasne resident that resulted in the arrest of six illegal aliens.
“This is a great example of our integration with state, local and tribal law enforcement partners,” said Patrol Agent in Charge Wade A. Laughman. “The quick response of the New York State Police stopped four illegal aliens from successfully entering the United States.”
At approximately 10 p.m. on February 29, a concerned Akwesasne community member called the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Police and reported that he saw a man, woman, and two children get into a van driven by two other men at the Bear’s Den restaurant. The community member suspected he had witnessed an alien smuggling attempt. The New York State Police stopped the van shortly thereafter in Hogansburg and requested assistance from U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Massena station.
Border Patrol agents arrived, questioned the occupants of the van and determined that the six were citizens of the Dominican Republic and illegally present in the United States. Border Patrol agents arrested them and transported them to the Massena Border Patrol station to conduct interviews and check records.
“We can’t be everywhere and need the Akwesasne community’s help to keep our people safe,” noted Tribal Chief of Police Matthew Rourke. “Being vigilant and asking community members to call tribal police or Border Patrol when they notice suspicious activity continues to be an important part of our law enforcement capabilities.”
At the station, agents identified the two men that picked up the four people at the restaurant. One of the men, Ysrael Garcia-Diaz, 27, entered the United States on June 21, 2009 as the fiancé of a U.S. citizen. He never married, and his nonimmigrant visa expired on December 1, 2009. Since then, he has been illegally present in the United States. The other man, Justo Garcia-Paulino, 54, claimed to have entered the United States in December of 2002 by walking through the desert in Arizona. He then travelled to New York.
The man they picked up, Moises Pena-Cristopher, 23, applied for a visa on October 23, 2014 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, but no other records were found. He was arrested with his girlfriend, 25, and her two minor children, ages two and four.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York is prosecuting Ysrael Garcia-Diaz and Justo Garcia-Paulino under 8 USC 1324, Alien Smuggling. They each face up to 1 year in prison, a $100,000 fine and removal from the United States. Moises Pena-Cristopher is being charged under 8 USC 1325, Improper Entry by Alien. He faces six months in prison, a $5,000 fine and removal from the United States.
These charges and allegations are merely accusations, and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The Swanton Sector thanks and appreciates the concerned local resident for reporting this incident. Your assistance is invaluable to our border security mission and we welcome other community members to help us keep our nation’s borders safe and report suspicious activity in the border area to the U.S. Border Patrol at 1-800-689-3362.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.