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Press Release

Indiana Man Pleads Guilty to Unlawfully Transporting Three Aliens

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

ALBANY, NEW YORK – Jose Manuel Mejias-Ayala, age 46, of Washington, Indiana, pled guilty today to unlawfully transporting three aliens.

The announcement was made by United States Attorney Carla B. Freedman and Acting Chief Patrol Agent Keith Hoops, United States Border Patrol, Swanton Sector.

Mejias-Ayala admitted that on September 25, 2022, he drove his SUV from Indiana to Mooers, New York, to pick up three Mexican citizens who had recently illegally crossed the international border from Canada into the United States.  The defendant also admitted that he planned to drive the three people to Chicago, Illinois.  Mejias-Ayala further admitted that he was to be paid $6,000 for his efforts in transporting the Mexican citizens.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 4, 2023 before United States District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino. Mejias-Ayala faces up to 10 years in prison, a 3-year term of post-release supervision, and a fine up to $250,000.  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 was investigated by the United States Border Patrol and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rick Belliss.

Updated December 2, 2022

Human Smuggling