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Press Release

Men Plead Guilty to Transportation of Illegal Aliens

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

ALBANY, NEW YORK – Daniel Santana, age 49, of New York City, and Sandy Santana-Soto, age 35, of Kissimmee, Florida, each pled guilty today to transporting two illegal aliens within the United States.

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

As part of their respective pleas, Santana and Santana-Soto each admitted that on June 13, 2018, they drove together to the Massena Port of Entry, New York, and entered the United States from Canada.  Simultaneously, Manuela Marina Del Pillar Soto-Garcia and Manuel de Jesus Polanco-Feliz were being smuggled across the border by boat approximately 5 miles east of the Massena Port of Entry, avoiding United States immigration and customs inspection.  Soto-Garcia and Polanco-Feliz were delivered to a restaurant parking lot near Hogansburg, New York, by an unidentified smuggler. 

After entering the United States, Santana and Santana-Soto drove to the parking lot and picked up Soto-Garcia and Polanco-Feliz.  Santana and Santana-Soto exited the parking lot and drove west on New York State Route 37 until they stopped at a gas station in Hogansburg.  While at the gas station, Border Patrol approached the group, determined that Soto-Garcia and Polanco-Feliz were both aliens unlawfully present in the United States, and arrested all four individuals.  

The passengers, Soto-Garcia and Polanco-Feliz, were prosecuted for the misdemeanor offense of entry without inspection.   

Soto-Garcia, age 55, and a citizen of the Dominican Republic, was convicted on July 10, 2018 and sentenced to 35 days in jail. Polanco-Feliz, age 27, and a citizen of the Dominican Republic, was convicted on July 5, 2018, and sentenced to 22 days in jail and to pay a $200 fine.      

As a result of their felony convictions, Santana and Santana-Soto each face up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 when they are sentenced by Senior United States District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy on April 16, 2019.  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.            

These cases were investigated by Border Patrol and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward P. Grogan.

Updated December 10, 2018

Human Smuggling