Grand Island, N.Y. - U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Integrated Border Enforcement Team (IBET) assisted with the arrest of two wanted felons; one from Canada and the other an escapee from a U.S. prison.
Border Patrol agents provided intelligence information that lead to the arrest of Giorgio Cote-Mendoza, a Columbian Citizen, on October 16, in Toronto, Ontario. Cote-Mendoza was on the Canada Border Services Agency's (CBSA) most-wanted list for his ties to organized crime and for illegally residing in Canada.
The second person arrested was Steven Pieczynski, a U.S. citizen with multiple warrants. Pieczynski escaped from a prison in Bucks, Pa., and a nation-wide warrant for his arrest was issued. Border Patrol agents discovered a stolen vehicle abandoned in Lewiston, N.Y. along with information that Pieczynski may have attempted to smuggle himself into Canada. Video evidence of Pieczynski crossing illegally into Canada via kayak was provided by Lewiston Police. Border Patrol agents gathered further information while working with Canadian law enforcement partners, and Pieczynski's location was discovered. On October 23, Canadian law enforcement agencies and IBET members arrested the fleeing felon in Toronto.
Pieczynski is being held in Canada, pending deportation to the United States to face his criminal charges.
The IBET is comprised of both Canadian and U.S. law enforcement agencies. This cooperative bi-national initiative focuses on national security and targets organized crime as well as other criminal activity between the ports of entry.
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.