Texas Firm and Field Operations Supervisor Agree to Plead Guilty to Involvement in the Harboring and Transporting of Illegal Aliens Used in North Central Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Survey Work
|U.S. Attorney’s Office February 26, 2013|
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that GPX/GPX USA, a seismic surveying company based in Sealy, Texas, and its field operations supervisor, Douglas C. Wiggill, have agreed to plead guilty to federal charges involving harboring and transporting 19 illegal aliens for a project in the Williamsport, Pennsylvania area.
GPX has agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens. The company has agreed to forfeit $250,000 and pay a $25,000 fine. Wiggill, age 43, a Canadian citizen residing in Ft. Worth, Texas, has agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor violation of aiding and abetting the improper entry of aliens to the United States.
As part of the plea agreement, GPX agreed to implement a corporate compliance program for confirming the employment eligibility and identity of all current and prospective employees.
Both plea agreements are subject to the approval of the Court. A court date has not yet been scheduled. The case is assigned to U.S. District Court Chief Judge Yvette Kane.
According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, in May 2012, a 20-count indictment was filed charging GPX/GPX USA and Wiggill with harboring and transporting illegal aliens and conspiracy to commit those offenses. GPX is engaged in the business of providing seismic and surface mapping surveys for the oil and gas industry.
The indictment alleged that in May 2011, GPX and Wiggill hired 19 illegal aliens to work on a seismic surveying project in Lycoming County. The indictment alleged that GPX and Wiggill failed to verify the immigration status of the aliens and did not prepare the required Form I-9 and supporting documentation concerning the aliens’ authorization to be in the United States.
According to the indictment, GPX executed a contractor compliance agreement certifying that all personnel were authorized to work legally in the United States when, in fact, they were not. On June 23 and 24, 2011, officers of the Williamsport Bureau of Police and agents of U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations arrested the 19 aliens employed by GPX at or in the vicinity of apartments rented for them in Williamsport by Wiggill and GPX. The arrests were a result of an investigation of one of the aliens by Williamsport Police.
The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Williamsport Bureau of Police. Prosecution of this matter is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney George J. Rocktashel.