By Karen Hopper Usher
Hitting the throttle when border patrol agents try to board your boat is a bad idea.
Also a bad idea: calling for the massacre of border patrol agents while they’re hauling you off to jail.
But that’s what court documents say Abraham Charles Christopher Lazore, 37, did after the border patrol tried to pull him over in the St. Lawrence River. The New York man was recently sentenced to 16 months in prison.
The incident happened around 12:35 a.m. on Sept. 3, 2016, in the St. Lawrence River between Saint Regis, Quebec, and Hogansburg, New York. Both communities are inside Mohawk reservation territory.
Border patrol agents saw Lazore leave Quebec’s waters and enter U.S. waters, according to the complaint. But it was dark out and Lazore didn’t have any lights on. The agents pulled him over and tried to get on his boat.
But Lazore hit the throttle instead, according to the complaint. A rope from his boat wrapped around an agent’s arm. That was dangerous because the agent could have been dragged underwater, the complaint said.
Another agent hit Lazore, first with an umbrella and then with a steel baton, to stop him from driving the boat away.
Lazore has a history of trying to ditch the border patrol, according to court documents.
He grew up in Hogansburg, on the U.S. side of the reservation. The night of the incident, he was returning from a small island owned by his family, said Mark Anderson, Lazore’s attorney.
“It’s his backyard,” he said.
Over the years, Lazore had been stopped many times by border patrol for no good reason, according to pre-sentencing documents submitted by his lawyer.
“This has caused the defendant to feel strong resentment toward the federal agents, and he has imprudently made statements to that effect – causing him even greater problems,” the defendant’s sentencing memorandum reads.
When the agents took Lazore to jail, he told them that border patrol agents need to be shot, according to the prosecution’s pre-sentencing memorandum.
‘“The next time I see agents on the water, instead of stopping, I’m better off shooting them and lighting their boat on fire. Border Patrol agents need to be massacred,’” the memorandum quoted him as saying.
Lazore tried to evade border patrol agents that night because he was afraid of going to jail, the defendant’s sentencing memorandum contends. He knew there were bench warrants out for “minor infractions” and didn’t want to go back to jail after he had started to get his life together.
Lazore, who was sentenced in early February, pleaded guilty to obstruction of a vessel boarding.
The maximum possible senence for the crime is five years. Despite a criminal history that includes domestic violence and reckless endangerment, Lazore was in the lowest category under federal sentencing guidelines. Under the guidelines, he faced 10-16 months, said Michael Barnett, a public information officer at the U.S. Attorney’s office in Albany, New York.
U.S. District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino granted the government’s request for the toughest sentence under the guidelines.
“You could’ve killed one or more federal agents. I take it seriously when federal agents are exposed to this conduct,” the judge is quoted as saying in a press release.
Lazore has been jailed since his arrest, Anderson said. With credit for time served and good behavior, he could be out of prison in four or five months.