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Franklin County man accused of transporting Polish nationals near Waddington

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A Franklin County man was charged Friday with transporting three Polish nationals who claimed they had entered the United States illegally by boat.

Matthew J. David, 53, Rooseveltown, was charged by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents with transporting an illegal alien within the United States for the purpose of financial gain.

According to a criminal complaint filed Saturday in U.S. District Court, Syracuse, Mr. David was driving a Chevrolet Monte Carlo on Route 37 near Waddington on Friday when he passed an agent conducting routine patrol. The agent allegedly observed the vehicle’s driver, Mr. David, turn his head away and move his arm “in a manner to conceal his face.” At the same time, the agent saw a back-seat passenger “quickly duck away” from his vehicle’s headlights.

The agent followed the vehicle into Waddington, where it pulled into a service station, which the agent said in his complaint was suspicious because the station was closed and “there is a larger gas station in Waddington that the car had just passed.” When the vehicle came back onto Route 37 southbound, the agent followed. The agent claims that the vehicle crossed the road’s center line and at one point continued straight in a turn-only lane. The vehicle turned off Route 37 and onto County Route 6 and continued south.

The agent claims the vehicle crossed the road’s center line “several times” and proceeded at speeds that varied from 55 mph to 62 mph. The agent said that the driver’s actions “indicated the driver was paying increased attention to the marked unit following behind” him, causing the agent to halt the vehicle on County Route 6 for further investigation.

According to the complaint, three passengers admitted they were Polish citizens who were not in possession of immigration documents that would allow them to enter or remain in the United States legally. They claimed they entered the country by boat across the St. Lawrence River and had been directed to Mr. David’s vehicle at an unspecified location. Mr. David allegedly admitted that he picked up the Polish citizens after they had entered the country by boat and that he was being paid $2,000 to take them to Syracuse.

Mr. David is being held in U.S. marshals’ custody pending a detention hearing Wednesday. The three Polish citizens were charged with concealing facts about their entry into the country.

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