Two men who transported illegal aliens from Hogansburg sentenced in federal court
Monday, December 10, 2018 - 5:25 pm

MASSENA -- Daniel Santana, 49, of New York City, and Sandy Santana-Soto, 35, of Kissimmee, Fla, each pled guilty today to transporting two illegal aliens within the United States near the Massena Port of Entry.

United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Robert N. Garcia, United States Border Patrol chief patrol agent for the Swanton Sector made the announcement in a Monday news release.

As part of their respective pleas, Santana and Santana-Soto each admitted that on June 13 they drove together to the Massena Port of Entry, and entered the United States from Canada, the Department of Justice said.

Simultaneously, Manuela Marina Del Pillar Soto-Garcia and Manuel de Jesus Polanco-Feliz were being smuggled across the border by boat approximately 5 miles east of the Massena Port of Entry, avoiding United States immigration and customs inspection. Soto-Garcia and Polanco-Feliz were delivered to a restaurant parking lot near Hogansburg by an unidentified smuggler. After entering the United States, Santana and Santana-Soto drove to the parking lot and picked up Soto-Garcia and Polanco-Feliz, DOJ said.

Santana and Santana-Soto exited the parking lot and drove west on New York State Route 37 until they stopped at a gas station in Hogansburg. While at the gas station, Border Patrol agents approached the group, determined that Soto-Garcia and Polanco-Feliz were both aliens unlawfully present in the United States, and arrested all four individuals, according to DOJ.

The passengers, Soto-Garcia and Polanco-Feliz, were prosecuted for a misdemeanor offense of entry without inspection.

Soto-Garcia, age 55, and a citizen of the Dominican Republic, was convicted on July 10, and sentenced to 35 days in jail.

Polanco-Feliz, age 27, and a citizen of the Dominican Republic, was convicted on July 5, and sentenced to 22 days in jail and to pay a $200 fine.

As a result of their felony convictions, Santana and Santana-Soto each face up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 when they are sentenced by Senior United States District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy on April 16, 2019, DOJ said.

These cases were investigated by Border Patrol and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward P. Grogan.