Two Plead Guilty In Connection With A Smuggling Attempt At The Peace Bridge
CONTACT: Barbara Burns
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BUFFALO, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Viktoria Tanasiv, 21, of Canada, and Yevhen Lysak, 23, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to neglecting to assist a customs officer before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J Roemer. Tanasiv was fined and released to immigration authorities, while Lysak was fined and released.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie O. Lamarque, who handled the case, stated that on June 1, 2018, at approximately 1:45 a.m., a vehicle, registered in the State of Pennsylvania and driven by Yevhen Lysak, arrived at the Peace Bridge Port of Entry seeking to enter the United States. Lysak stated that he was returning to his residence in Pennsylvania after visiting his girlfriend, a resident of Canada. During primary inspection, a Customs and Border Protection Officer conducted an inspection of the vehicle’s trunk in order to verify Lysak’s oral declaration. During the search, the officer discovered Viktoria Tanasiv in the trunk of the car.
The defendants were taken to secondary examination. Tanasiv was subsequently identified as a citizen of Ukraine, but a permanent resident of Canada. Lysak told officers that he and Tanasiv are in a personal relationship and that Tanasiv voluntarily got into the trunk of his vehicle so that she could spend the weekend with him in Pennsylvania. Tanasiv also told officers that she consensually entered into the trunk of Lysak’s vehicle so that she could spend the weekend with him.
The case is the result of an investigation by Customs and Border Protection, under the direction of Director of Field Operations Rose Brophy, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kelly.