MONTPELIER, Vt. – A man from Mexico and another from Guatemala tried to smuggle five Romanians into the United States from Canada along a remote stretch of the border in Vermont, American federal prosecutors said Monday.
U.S. Border Patrol agents were alerted Friday night that a group of people had been spotted entering the United States in Canaan, Vermont.
Agents said six people — the Mexican citizen and five Romanians — they found hiding in the snow and brush admitted they had entered the U.S. illegally.
The Mexican man told agents he had permission to live in Canada, but had been asked by people in Montreal to smuggle the Romanians into the United States. The group was dropped off near the border earlier Friday.
The Romanians were supposed to pay the man who brought them across the border and he was supposed to give that money to the people in Montreal who had recruited him. At around the same time, the agents arrested a Guatemalan who said he was being paid $1,000 to drive the Romanians to Rhode Island.
The two men are facing charges they conspired to bring into the United States and transport people who did not have permission to be in the country.
Prosecutors asked a judge to detain three of the Romanians as material witnesses.
In a separate case in November, another Mexican man was apprehended by Border Patrol agents in the same area of Canaan, a remote area near where Vermont, New Hampshire and Quebec meet.
In October, in Derby Line, Vermont, about 32 kilometres west of Canaan, the Border Patrol apprehended a group of 16 people from Central America and Mexico, some of whom had illegally entered the United States from Canada. It was the largest case of its kind in the memory of border agents who patrol the Vermont-Quebec border.