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Suspicious vehicle in Massena results in arrests of Polish illegal immigrants and immigrant smugglers

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MASSENA — A suspicious vehicle Sunday in the Walmart parking lot on Route 37 resulted in the arrests of four Polish citizens for allegedly being in the United States illegally and three men who allegedly were paid to transport them within the country.

Oleh Solomon, a citizen of Ukraine, Mikita Palaukov, a citizen of Belarus, and Ian R.E. Tarbell, a U.S. citizen, were each charged by U.S. Border Patrol agents with transporting illegal aliens within the United States for financial gain. Four Polish nationals, three men and a woman, were charged with being in the country illegally. Two of the alleged illegal aliens previously had been deported from the United States, according to documents filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court, Syracuse.

According to criminal complaints filed in the action, Border Patrol agents observed a white Mitsubishi Galant “warranting elevated suspicion” because it was “making numerous movements” around the parking lot with no one getting in or out. Just before 8 p.m., a white Cadillac Escalade pulled into the lot and parked next to the Galant, with four people getting out of the Escalade and into the back seat of the Galant. An agent followed the Galant containing six passengers onto Route 420 before halting it. Mr. Palaukov, the driver, and Mr. Solomon told agents they were in the United States legally, although Mr. Palaukov allegedly admitted the other four passengers were illegal aliens.

Simultaneously, other agents followed the Escalade to a residence in the village, where agents saw the driver, later identified as Mr. Tarbell, go inside, come out and drive away in a Chevrolet Silverado onto North Raquette Road. The vehicle was halted on O’Neill Road, where Mr. Tarbell allegedly admitted he knew he was transporting illegal aliens from St. Regis Village, Quebec, to Massena and was being paid $450.

According to court documents, one of the Polish nationals told agents he had entered the United States from Canada by “sled.” All seven people charged have been remanded to U.S. Marshals Service custody pending detention hearings.

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