California man charged in Summit County with human smuggling
An officer with the Department of Homeland Security arrested a man in Summit County on Jan. 19 after, prosecutors allege, the officer found eight immigrants hiding in the man’s vehicle during a traffic stop.
Rolando Gomez-Gomez, 33, of Los Angeles, was charged in Summit County’s 3rd District Court on Jan. 22 with human smuggling, a third-degree felony; providing false personal information to a peace officer, a class C misdemeanor; and speeding.
A probable cause statement shows that a task force officer with the Homeland Security Investigations Criminal Interdiction Team stopped Gomez-Gomez’s vehicle while it was traveling eastbound on Interstate 80 in Summit County. The officer said the vehicle was traveling 78 mph in a 70-mph zone and swerving.
Court documents state that, when the officer stopped the vehicle, he noticed eight men “attempting to hide.” Gomez-Gomez initially gave the officer a false identification card with a different name, claiming he did not know his passengers, according to the charges. The officer’s search of a federal database revealed his true identity and that he had been stopped several times for smuggling.
Prosecutors allege the men in the vehicle told law enforcement they had paid Gomez-Gomez to take them to other states, including Nebraska and New Jersey. Gomez-Gomez later allegedly admitted to transporting the men for money and taking other immigrants on trips throughout the country on other occasions.
As of Thursday, Gomez-Gomez was in custody at the Summit County Jail. He was being held on an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement hold.
Meredith Reed was elected to a two-year term as chair of the Summit County Democratic Party and said she sees an opportunity to ride the so-called blue wave that saw a Democratic surge nationally and within the state.