hands in handcuffs
By Jason Emerson
Cazenovia police this week received a complaint of a car driving recklessly down Fenner Street, swerving between lanes and traveling in the oncoming lane. When Police Chief Michael Hayes pulled the car over, it turned out the driver was not only intoxicated by more than twice the legal limit, he and his passenger were both illegal immigrants from Central America carrying apparently false passports.
According to police, Francisco Nicolas Lucas Miranda, of Guatamala, was driving a car with a Maryland license plate recklessly down Fenner Street on Aug. 8. He was pulled over by Hayes, who smelled a strong odor of alcohol coming from inside the car as he approached the driver’s window, and saw multiple empty and full containers of beer inside the car, according to the police report.
“The minute I got to the car I knew he was intoxicated,” Hayes said.
The subsequent sobriety test showed Miranda had a blood alcohol content of .23, or more than twice the legal limit, according to police.
Inside the car were found various documents, including passports with no entry stamps for both Miranda and his passenger, Gilmar Ivan Lopez Gomez, also of Guatamala.
Also found in the car was a pay stub for Miranda from Sunny-Trail Dairy Farm in Fabius, according to police.
James Loomis, owner of Sunny-Trail Farm, said both men did work for him at one time but had not been employed there for a few weeks.
Loomis said Gomez quit after only about one week on the job and without turning in his paperwork showing he can legally work in the U.S. (farms have up to one month to turn in immigration work permit paperwork, Loomis said), while Francisco did give Loomis his work papers.
During the traffic stop, once the apparently fraudulent passports were discovered, Cazenovia police contacted the U.S. Border Patrol, who determined that both Miranda and Gomez were in the U.S. illegally. Both men were then detained by the Cazenovia police and turned over to the Border Patrol for immigration violations.
“Instead of wasting village resources and prosecuting Miranda for DWI, I called the Border Patrol,” Hayes said. “It is the policy of all law enforcement agencies in New York state to contact the Border Patrol when you find illegals because we have no jurisdiction over these individuals. If the Border Patrol wishes to come and get them, we turn them over.”
Hayes said this is not the first incident with illegal immigrants Cazenovia police have faced. Earlier this summer, an individual who was pulled over for driving 70 mph on Ledyard Avenue was subsequently determined to be an illegal immigrant and turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol, Hayes said.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.