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Akwesasne man admits helping smuggle undocumented Irishman into U.S.

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AKWESASNE — A Hogansburg man admitted Tuesday in federal court that he participated in smuggling an undocumented Irish national into the United States in 2010.

Nathan S. Martin, 31, pleaded guilty without any plea agreement in U.S. District Court, Plattsburgh, to conspiracy to bring illegal aliens into the United States and bringing aliens into the country, as well as counts of transporting aliens within the country. He also pleaded guilty to failure to appear at federal court proceedings after being granted pretrial release.

He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison on the smuggling counts, with a minimum of three years’ imprisonment at sentencing Oct. 13. The failure to appear charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, as does the conspiracy count. Under federal law, the court is required to run any sentence for failure to appear consecutive to, or in addition to, any other sentence.

According to the U.S. attorney’s office, Martin was one of three people indicted in April 2010 with conspiracy to smuggle aliens from Canada into the United States. Carl Thompson previously pleaded guilty to the charge and has been sentenced to three years in prison. Dennis Jocko, Cornwall Island, Ont., remains a fugitive after absconding from his pretrial release.

According to court documents, Akwesasne Mohawk Police officers in Canada alerted St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Police Department members and U.S. Border Patrol agents on Feb. 8, 2010 that a vehicle had crossed the St. Lawrence River via an “ice bridge” from Cornwall Island into Franklin County. After police observed the vehicle drop a person off on Route 37 in Hogansburg, they attempted to stop the vehicle for an immigration inspection. However, the driver, later identified as Martin, attempted to flee, but was apprehended after he drove his vehicle off the road. It later was discovered Martin received part of a $2,000 fee the Irish citizen had paid to be smuggled into the country.

A federal magistrate judge released Martin on Feb. 9, 2010, to the supervision of the U.S. Probation Department, but he failed to appear at a hearing Jan. 4, 2011. A warrant was issued for his arrest and he was located more than two years later, on Jan. 7, by the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Police. He is being held in federal marshals’ custody to await sentencing.

The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Massena.

with assistance from the United States Border Patrol, St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department,St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Police Department, Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service, Royal CanadianMounted Police, Ontario Provincial Police, Canadian Border Services Agency, and Surete DuQuebec.

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