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Illegal Aliens Captured
JULY 22, 2005

WHEELING - Fourteen allegedly illegal aliens were taken into custody in Ohio County on Thursday and turned over to federal Immigration and Naturalization officers based in Pittsburgh.

Between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Thursday, Ohio County sheriff's deputies took 14 illegal immigrants into custody. The arrests resulted from a traffic stop on Interstate 70.
Sheriff's Sgt. Nelson Croft said deputies stopped a pickup truck around the 5-mile marker on the highway because the vehicle had a cracked windshield.

"The bed was covered with a cap with several dark tinted windows," Croft said. "The driver does speak a little bit of English. He said he'd been in the United States a little over two years."

Croft said the immigrants were all from Mexico, though they came from several different states in that country.

Croft said according to the driver, they were traveling from Denver and were passing through West Virginia to construction jobs in Maryland. Their exact destination in Maryland was unclear.

"They were cooperative," Croft said. "But there were some things they wouldn't tell us."

Officers transported the men to the sheriff's office in four sheriff's cruisers and one Wheeling police cruiser.

Croft said representatives of the Immigration and Naturalization Service office in Pittsburgh were more cooperative in this incident than in the past, responding soon after deputies reported the arrests. During the last incident involving illegal immigrants, he said, the INS told deputies to release the subjects.

"They prefer them to be released and not bothered with," Croft said. The INS "processes them and releases them. If they've not been reported previously, they register them for a hearing."