News and Press Releases

Polish national pleads guilty to transporting illegal alien

January 28, 2011

ALBUQUERQUE – Today, Jaroslaw Kowalczyk, a 32-year old citizen of Poland, entered a guilty plea to transporting an illegal alien before United States Magistrate Judge Alan C. Torgerson. Kowalczyk, an illegal alien with a residence in Chicago, Illinois, has been in federal custody since his arrest on federal immigration charges on July 21, 2010. Kowalczyk remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled, and faces a maximum ten-year term of imprisonment, a maximum $250,000 fine, and up to three years supervised release.

Kowalczyk initially was charged by criminal complaint in July 2010. On August 25, 2010, Kowalczyk was charged in a two-count indictment charging him with transporting, and aiding and abetting the transporting of, two illegal aliens. Kowalczyk pleaded guilty to count 1 of the indictment under a plea agreement with the United States Attorney's Office. Pursuant to the terms of the plea agreement, the United States Attorney's Office will move to dismiss count 2 after Kowalczyk is sentenced.

United States Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said that Kowalczyk was arrested after investigators from Homeland Security Investigations of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Tax Fraud Investigations Division of the State of New Mexico Tax and Revenue Department (NMFID) determined that he was involved in one of various schemes by which undocumented immigrants were being smuggled into New Mexico from various states to obtain New Mexico drivers licenses by falsely claiming New Mexico residency.

According to the criminal complaint filed on July 28, 2011, Kowalczyk's involvement in the scheme came to the attention of the authorities when a Polish national contacted the NMFID to report that his friend, another Polish national, was experiencing difficulties in obtaining his driver's license at an Albuquerque based New Mexico Motor Vehicles Division office. Investigation revealed that the two Polish men were illegal immigrants who had traveled from Chicago to Albuquerque to obtain New Mexico drivers licenses. It also revealed the two men each paid Kowalczyk a $1,000.00 fee for bringing them to Albuquerque and assisting them in securing documenting supporting New Mexico residency so they could obtain drivers licenses.

The complaint further alleged that the two Polish nationals learned about Kowalczyk through an ad in Dziennik Zwaizkowy (Polish Daily News), a weekly Chicago newspaper, that promised: "Drivers license in the State of New Mexico. Social security not necessary. 100% guaranteed," and provided Kowalczyk's telephone number. Investigation revealed that this ad appeared in the Polish Daily News 22 times between January 15, 2010 through July 1, 2010. During the investigation, Kowalczyk admitted traveling from Chicago to New Mexico by automobile on five or six occasions with three to four Polish nationals per trip for the purpose of obtaining drivers licenses.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Norman Cairns and was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the NMFID.

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