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Press Release

Canadian Woman Pleads Guilty Involving An Attempt To Smuggle An Alien In A Car Trunk

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

CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX #: (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Donna Pham, 46, of Ontario, Canada, pleaded guilty, before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara, to conspiracy to defraud the United States. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, and a $250,000 fine.              

Assistant U.S. Attorney Wei Xiang, who is handling the case, stated that on January 6, 2019, a black Mercedes attempted to enter the United States from Canada at the Rainbow Bridge Port of Entry. The vehicle was registered to the defendant, a settlement worker in Canada who assisted Canadian permanent residents and refugees in understanding the Canadian education system. During primary inspection, Pham presented herself and a front seat passenger as Canadians, with Canadian passports. The defendant did not declare or present for inspection a Senegalese alien, who was secreted in the trunk of her vehicle. Subsequently, Customs and Border Protection officers discovered the alien, who was detained along with Pham.

The plea is the result of an investigation by Customs and Border Protection, under the direction of Rose Brophy, Director of Field Operations, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charger Kevin Kelly.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 31, 2019, at 12:30pm before Judge Arcara.

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Updated February 21, 2019

Human Smuggling