Posted on March 4, 2005

15 Illegal Aliens in Van Released

Bob Stiles, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Mar. 3

State police at Somerset released a vanload of 15 illegal aliens after federal immigration officials didn’t want to go out in bad weather this week.

Cpl. Robert F. Johnson said in a news release that he stopped a van carrying the aliens at about 1:45 p.m. Tuesday on a section of the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Stony Creek Township, Somerset County. He then couldn’t get U.S. immigration officials to travel to the Somerset barracks of the turnpike, he said.

“They declined to take the aliens into custody, citing poor weather conditions,” Johnson’s report stated.

He couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday.

Sgt. Anthony DeLuca, the commander of the turnpike station, said police were forced to release the 13 Mexicans and two Guatemalans when the federal officials didn’t come.

“We can’t detain them unless they commit a crime,” he said.

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The incident wasn’t the first of its kind in the area.

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