U.S. Customs and Border Patrol continued on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, to stop and check vehicles southbound on Interstate 95 near Sherman in Aroostook County. Credit: Courtesy of Mary Ann Lynch

Members of the U.S. Border Patrol were stopping cars on Interstate 95 this week at a checkpoint about 40 miles from the Canadian border, between the towns of Benedicta and Sherman.

The checkpoint was part of a “routine” operation to check the immmigration status of drivers and passengers, according to Mark Phillips, a spokesman for the U.S. Border Patrol’s Houlton sector.

The stops had begun by late Monday morning and continued through Tuesday. At one point on Monday, the checkpoint caused a long line of cars to back up behind it in the southbound lanes.

Phillips didn’t specifically state the reasons for this week’s stops, but he said they are related to the agency’s efforts to stop smuggling organizations.

He also didn’t immediately release any other information about the stops, including how long they would continue or whether anyone was arrested on Monday or Tuesday.

He said the agency doesn’t need a warrant to stop vehicles “within a reasonable distance” of the border.

County reporters Nina Mahaleris and Joseph Cyr contributed to this report.