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Two Canadian residents sentenced in federal court to time served for Hammond incident

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HAMMOND – A Canadian man who aided an undocumented Israeli citizen in entering the United States illegally in May was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court, Utica, to time served. The other man was also sentenced to time served Tuesday.

Alexander Zuenko, 53, St. Catherines, Ont., pleaded guilty to knowingly transporting an alien, Volodymyr Sukhov, within the United States after U.S. Border Patrol agents based in Ogdensburg halted his vehicle May 30 on Route 37 and discovered Mr. Sukhov and four of his family members were passengers.

According to court documents, both men are originally from the Ukraine, with Mr. Sukhov seeking asylum in Canada. When his request for asylum was denied, he sought Mr. Zuenko’s help in getting into the United States.

According to a criminal complaint, agents were performing a “roving patrol stop” when they encountered the vehicle driven by Mr. Zuenko. Agents checked the history of the vehicle crossing the U.S.-Canadian border and learned that it had crossed into the United States through the Fort Covington port of entry, but when it had, it contained only one passenger. Agents observed that the vehicle now had six passengers, including Mr. Sukhov, who had no legal status to be in the United States, and four of his family members, who were not identified in court documents.

Agents said Mr. Zuenko told them he had been paid by Mr. Sukhov to transport the five passengers from Toronto to the border for the purpose of having the passengers enter the United States without proper admission. The complaint does not say how the five passengers entered the United States, but agents said they did pass through a port of entry. Mr. Zuenko allegedly told agents he had picked up the five passengers along a road in Fort Covington. He said he then was to drive the family to Tonawanda, near Buffalo.

Mr. Sukhov pleaded guilty to unlawfully entering the United States from Canada at a place other than designated by immigration officials for the entrance of immigrants.

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