Three Individuals Arrested in a Smuggling Attempt at the Border
BUFFALO, N.Y.—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. and Customs and Border Protection Director of Field Operations Randy Howe announced today that three individuals were arrested and charged in separate criminal complaints following a smuggling attempt at the Peace Bridge Port of Entry. Tonin Ndoja, 50, a citizen of Canada is charged with bringing in aliens in exchange for financial gain which is punishable by a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Bardok Tusha, 30, and his wife Kleda Tusha, 20, both citizens of Albania, were charged with illegal entry.
Assistant U.S Attorney Scott S. Allen, Jr., who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaints, on November 12, 2014, defendant Ndoja attempted to enter the United States from Canada at the Peace Bridge. Ndoja, a Free and Secure Trade (FAST) card holder and member of the trusted traveler program, was driving a tractor trailer carrying rolled steel. During a secondary inspection, officers with Customs and Border Protection discovered defendants Bardok and Kleda Tusha hidden inside the cab of the tractor trailer under a blanket.
“It is the responsibility of our Office, along with our federal partners, to protect the flow of traffic across our international crossings,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “Whether it be illegal narcotics, commerce, or in this case human beings, we will vigorously prosecute this and any other attempts to subvert the law at our local borders.”
"This was an outstanding job by our front line officers," said Randy Howe, Director of Field Operations for the CBP Buffalo Field Office. "Our officers possess keen observational skills and in this case, were able to determine that this driver and truck required further inspection. Human Smuggling is a serious violation of U.S. Law. We have a great working relationship with the United States Attorney's Office and we are glad they are our partner in combating Human Smuggling."
Tonin Ndoja made an initial appearance on November 13, 2014 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy. He is being detained and is due back in court on December 4, 2014. Bardok and Kleda Tusha also made an initial appearance at which time the couple pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge of illegal entry and were sentenced to time served.
The case is the result of an investigation by Customs and Border Protection, under the direction of Director of Field Operations Randy Howe.The fact that the defendants have been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.