The Pizza Express

"The Pizza Express"
by Dick Mauer

Border Patrol Agents are used to seeing dangerous stunts pulled by aliens seeking to enter the country. One entry attempt we encountered in Niagara Falls in the early 80s was particularly "chilling". The date was January 1, and the temperature was about 10 degrees when we received an early morning call from the U.S. Coast Guard base at Youngstown, New York telling us that they had seen some kind of craft on the lower Niagara River that morning. When we arrived the Coast Guard had a shivering alien wrapped in a blanket
waiting for us. He was an Italian national who entered without inspection in a small, cheap, plastic, blowup raft with plastic oars. He had launched his raft in the dark from Queenston Landing in Canada for the Quarter mile crossing of the river. The strong current strength of the river had pushed his raft about 10 miles downstream before he managed to catch hold of the last pier at the Coast Guard base. If he had missed that pier he would have been pushed far out into Lake Ontario by the current and face certain death from the elements.

With very little traffic on the rural roads early on New Years day, the station wagon, with New Jersey plates driving back and forth on River Road was easy to spot. The car was found to be carrying the luggage and passport of our winter sailor. The United States citizen in the vehicle had met the alien in Toronto upon arrival from Italy and drove him to the river. The alien was part of the organized crime influx brought in by the mob to work in New York and New Jersey pizza outlets and further mob activities, mostly mob hits.