OGDENSBURG — A Pennsylvania man was sentenced Thursday to a year in federal prison for transporting undocumented immigrants near here on multiple occasions.
Jaswinder Singh, 30, Philadelphia, Penn., a citizen of India, was sentenced in U.S. District Court, Utica, after pleading guilty Oct. 4 to knowingly transporting illegal immigrants within the United States for the purpose of financial gain.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Singh, who worked as an Uber driver, admitted that between Jan. 1, 2019, and May 20 he picked up several immigrants whom he knew had crossed into the United States illegally and transported them in the country for pay.
According to a criminal complaint filed with the court, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine helicopter pilot observed a boat with multiple passengers cross the St. Lawrence River from Canada and land in the town of Waddington at about 9:30 p.m. on May 20. Given the time of night and that the area the boat landed in was not near a designated port of entry, the pilot relayed to a Border Patrol agent on land that he had observed the boat’s occupants get into a vehicle and drive away.
About 30 minutes later, the agent saw a vehicle with Pennsylvania license plates and several passengers pass his location. As the vehicle passed, “it braked suddenly, and a passenger looked back at the Border Patrol vehicle,” the complaint states. The agent followed the vehicle, which was registered to someone in Pennsylvania, and observed the vehicle traveling at a speed well below the posted speed limit and crossing the road’s fog line “in an apparent attempt to encourage the Border Patrol vehicle to pass.”
The vehicle was stopped by the agent in Ogdensburg and the driver, later identified as Mr. Singh, said that his passengers were his mother and cousin, neither of whom spoke English. He also said that his passengers were from India and had no identification, according to the complaint.
The passengers, one of whom was a child, allegedly admitted that they had entered the country illegally. During a pat-down, $2,200 in cash was found in Mr. Singh’s jacket pocket and he allegedly admitted that the money was payment for picking up the immigrants and driving them to Philadelphia.