TOWN OF LEE — The Guatemalan farmhand taken from a farm on Thomas Road in Lee Center Wednesday morning appeared in U.S. District Court in Syracuse on Thursday.
Marcial de Leon Aguilar is charged with unlawfully re-entering the United States following previous removal, and he was held without bail pending a hearing on Tuesday, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement released a statement Thursday saying Aguilar was lawfully arrested by deportation officers under an “administrative arrest warrant for immigration violations.”
ICE said it has removed Aguilar from the U.S. three times: in February 2008, June 2011 and January 2014.
Officials said Aguilar has criminal convictions for reckless aggravated assault and illegal re-entry.
Aguilar was taken Wednesday morning from the farm of John Collins on Thomas Road in the Town of Lee.
Collins said seven officers handcuffed Aguilar in his milk house. Aguilar lives on the farm with his wife and children. Collins said Aguilar has proper documentation to work there and has taxes withheld from his paychecks.
Collins said Aguilar’s pregnant wife recently was caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally with the couple’s four children and has been meeting with ICE officers as she seeks asylum because of violence in Guatemala. Guatemala, which is in Central America just south of Mexico, has been ravaged by shootings and gang brutality in recent years.
Collins said he tried to take photos and video as Aguilar was led to a vehicle but officers grabbed his phone, threw it in the road and handcuffed him, threatening to arrest him for hindering a federal investigation. He said they released him before driving off with Aguilar.