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Two charged in Irish smuggling probe

A Buffalo bartender and a pub patron have been implicated in an ongoing investigation into a smuggling ring that helped illegal aliens from Ireland settle in the United States.

The bartender, Shannon Lee, worked in Campbell's Pub, 1591 Niagara St. The other defendant, Michael O'Malley, was recruited because he was a patron there, authorities said Tuesday.

The two, whose ages and addresses have not been released, are charged in a case involving Bridget A. Campbell, 37, the Campbell's Pub proprietor who recently admitted she made thousands of dollars smuggling Irish illegal aliens in late 2003 and most of 2004.

Campbell took a plea deal earlier this month, admitting that she sometimes hired bar employees and patrons to pick up illegal aliens in Fort Erie. Ont., and drive them over the Peace Bridge. Campbell admitted that she was paid at least $1,200 per alien.

O'Malley recently pleaded guilty to transporting and harboring illegal aliens, Assistant U.S. Attorney Gretchen Wylegala said.

According to court papers, O'Malley admitted he took part in "a scheme to bring Irish nationals into the United States." In his guilty plea, he acknowledged that he assisted Campbell in transporting five Irish aliens from Fort Erie over the Peace Bridge into Buffalo.

The smuggling incidents took place in 2004, and O'Malley usually received $100 from Campbell for driving to Fort Erie and picking up the luggage of Irish nationals who were being smuggled in other vehicles.

Last month, O'Malley was sentenced to two years on federal probation by U.S. District Judge John T. Elfvin.

March 15, Lee was charged with transporting aliens, harboring aliens and conspiring to defraud the U.S. government. She is accused of acting as one of Campbell's drivers in August 2004.

Campbell and her attorney, Michael M. Blotnik, have been unavailable to comment on the smuggling charges.
Prosecutors said Campbell admitted arranging for at least 30 illegal aliens from Ireland to cross from Fort Erie into Buffalo.

In court papers, Campbell said she hired people who worked and drank at her bar to act as drivers.

Under her plea deal, Bridget Campbell agreed to forfeit $36,000 to the government.

e-mail: dherbeck@buffnews

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