WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – A Texas company pleaded guilty Tuesday to harboring and transporting illegal aliens. The guilty plea is the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
GPX/GXP USA (GPX), a seismic surveying company based in Sealy, Texas, pleaded guilty to the charges at a hearing in U.S. District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania. GPX has agreed to forfeit $250,000 cash and pay a $25,000 fine.
The investigation by HSI special agents, with assistance from the FBI and Williamsport (Pa.) Bureau of Police revealed that in May 2011, GPX and its field operations supervisor, Douglas C. Wiggill, 44, of Fort Worth, Texas, hired 19 illegal aliens to work on a seismic surveying project in Lycoming County, Pa. The federal 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.
Wiggill pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of aiding the improper entry of aliens into the U.S. He faces six months in prison and a $5,000 fine.
According to court documents, GPX executed a contractor compliance agreement certifying that all individuals were authorized to work legally in the U.S. when, in fact, they were not. In June 2011 HSI special agents and Williamsport Bureau of Police officers arrested the 19 aliens employed by GPX at apartments rented for them in Williamsport by Wiggill and GPX.