Romanian citizen pleads guilty to people smuggling scheme across northern border

Monday, March 11, 2024

Peace Arch at Blaine. Photo courtesy Washington State Parks
A 27– year-old citizen of Romania pleaded guilty Friday, March 8, 2024 in U.S. District Court in Seattle to conspiracy to transport those not legally in the United States, announced U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman. 

Daniel Andronache was arrested near Blaine, Washington on November 9, 2023, after he and a co-conspirator picked up 12 people who had illegally crossed into the U.S. from Canada. 

Andronache is scheduled for sentencing by U.S. District Judge Lauren King on June 12, 2024.

“We are seeing a huge increase in human smuggling attempts across our northern border,” said U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman. 
“As in this case, the conduct is unsafe, putting the lives of many at risk. The Border Patrol and Homeland Security Investigation is working diligently to stop these smuggling schemes and interdict those being transported in a way that keeps everybody safe from harm.”

According to the plea agreement, Andronache flew from Omaha, Nebraska to Seattle on November 7, 2023, and obtained a white Ford Expedition in Tacoma. Andronache and a coconspirator used the car to drive to Blaine, Washington. 

The men parked on a road near the international border. Twelve Romanian citizens emerged from brush near the border and got into the car. The car only had seats for eight people, and there were 14 in the vehicle. When Border patrol stopped the car, they found two children unrestrained in the trunk of the car, and another was unrestrained on the center console of the vehicle. The youngest child in the car was under the age of three.

In his plea agreement Andronache admits he knowingly entered the conspiracy to transport the non-citizens so they could stay illegally in the U.S. Conspiracy to transport non-citizens is punishable by up to ten years in prison.

Those who entered the U.S. illegally were referred to immigration authorities for processing.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Border Patrol and Homeland Security Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Amanda McDowell.


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