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Press Release

Alien Smugglers Arrested Following High-Speed Crash

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of New York

PLATTSBURGH, NEW YORK – Rudin Lopez-Lopez, age 20, and Jose Lopez-Hernandez, age 20, citizens of Guatemala residing in Providence, Rhode Island, were arrested Wednesday and charged with alien smuggling following a high-speed crash on New York State Route 11 near Ellenburg, New York; no one was hurt.

The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Robert N. Garcia, Acting Chief Patrol Agent, United States Border Patrol, Swanton Sector.

Early Wednesday morning, Border Patrol agents assigned to the Burke and Champlain Stations arrested Lopez-Lopez and Lopez-Hernandez, both Guatemalan citizens, and five Romanians, after a failed smuggling attempt.  The charges in the complaints are merely accusations.  The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

According to the criminal complaints, a Border Patrol Agent pulled over a Texas-plated sedan that was observed along the border at the same time that several people were suspected of illegally crossing the border.   The car initially yielded to the Border Patrol Agent and pulled over, but as the Agent attempted to speak with the occupants of the car, it sped off east on New York State Route 11 at a high rate of speed.  Agents lost contact with the vehicle but came upon it when the damaged car was found embedded in a guardrail at the intersection of State Routes 11 and 190.  All seven occupants of the car had fled. 

An immediate search of the area revealed two people hiding under a nearby bridge.  Agents found three more people in a wooded area.  Agents determined all were illegal aliens.  At approximately 10 a.m., two more people, later determined to be Lopez-Lopez and Lopez-Hernandez, were located and arrested.

Lopez-Lopez and Lopez-Hernandez are each charged with transporting aliens unlawfully present in the United States for the purpose of commercial advantage and private financial gain.  Each appeared today before United States Magistrate Judge Gary L. Favro and was detained pending a detention hearing scheduled for August 28. 

Of the smuggled aliens, one is charged with the felony offense of re-entry of a removed alien and two are charged with the misdemeanor offense of entry without inspection.  They also appeared before Judge Favro this afternoon and were detained pending detention hearings at a later date. 

The charges filed against Lopez-Lopez and Hernandez-Lopez carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors.    

This case is being investigated by Border Patrol and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward P. Grogan.

Updated August 23, 2018

Human Smuggling