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Two men arrested at Lewiston Queenston Bridge for their roles in attempted illegal entry

STAFF REPORTS


BUFFALO -- U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Jason O. Garcia, 42, of Toronto, Ontario, and Jose Herrera-Galvaz, 43, a citizen and native of Chile, were arrested and charged by criminal complaint with harboring an illegal alien and attempted illegal entry respectively. Garcia faces five years in prison if convicted; Herrera-Galvaz faces six months in prison if he is convicted.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Meghan A. Tokash, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, on August 5, 2019, a commercial truck with Ontario, Canada plates, being driven by defendant Garcia, attempted to enter the United States at the Lewiston Bridge Port of Entry. During primary inspection, Garcia was asked if anyone else was present in the truck and he stated “No.” Garcia was then referred to the Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System (VACIS) for a scan of the truck. Garcia appeared to drive toward the VACIS area, but instead of reporting directly to the VACIS exam area, he drove the truck in front of the warehouse. A CBP Officer saw the truck park for a brief moment in front of the warehouse, and saw an individual, later identified as Herrera-Galvaz, get out of the truck and walk directly into the entrance of the warehouse. The truck then turned around in the parking lot and headed towards the VACIS examination area.

The CBP officers alerted other officers who began to search the warehouse building for the person who exited the truck. Herrera-Galvaz was located in the hallway of the warehouse. Officers indicted that he appeared nervous and was speaking Spanish. It was determined that Herrera-Galvaz was the individual who exited the truck that had pulled in front of the warehouse. During a search of Herrera-Galvaz, officers found, concealed in Herrera-Galvaz’s pants, a Chilean passport, bearing his photograph and biographical information. Herrera-Galvaz and Garcia were referred to the secondary inspection area for further inspection.

A subsequent record check determined that Herrera-Galvaz was refused entry to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program, at the Toronto, Ontario Pre-flight Inspection Station on August 4, 2019. Herrera-Galvaz was refused entry for failing to disclose an arrest in Chile on his Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) application. As a result, he must obtain a Visa prior to attempting to enter the United States at any time.

The defendants made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Roemer and were detained.

The complaint is the result of an investigation by Customs and Border Protection, under the direction of Director of Field Operations Rose Brophy.

The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. 

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