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Man who smuggled two aliens sent to federal prison

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MALONE - An Alberta man who previously pleaded guilty to smuggling two illegal aliens through the Fort Covington port of entry in July was sentenced federal prison time on Tuesday.

Donald Murray Gallaher, 55, was sentenced to a year imprisonment by United States District Court Judge Norman A. Mordue in Syracuse. He faced a maximum of 10 years incarceration and up to $250,000 in fines.

“This sentence should serve as a reminder to smugglers: law enforcement will continue to pursue you from Rouses Point to the Rio Grande Valley,” said Nick DiNicola, assistant special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigation in Albany.

On Jan. 5, Gallaher admitted that he entered the United States on July 22, 2011 with two illegal alien accomplices, Ross Brian James and John Duder. All three are Canadian citizens and were apprehended within 24 hours of entering the United States.

James was found to be in possession of a 9mm handgun and a .357 caliber revolver when he was apprehended. Both were loaded and registered to Gallaher.

“He gave various explanations of why he had the firearms, none of which made sense to investigators,” said Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of New York John Duncan in January.

James pleaded guilty to illegal importation of firearms. He was sentenced to a year of federal imprisonment and three years of post-release supervision on Feb. 22.

Duder pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of entry without inspection in Plattsburgh federal court on Aug. 2. He was sentenced to time served.

The investigation was conducted by United States Homeland Security Investigations, Customs and Border Protection and United States Border Patrol from Burke, New York. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York.

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