A man from Mexico has been sentenced to eight months in federal prison for human smuggling. Credit: Stock image | Pixabay

HOULTON, Maine — A man from Mexico has been sentenced to eight months in federal prison for human smuggling after bringing seven other Mexicans illegally across the border from Canada into Maine.

The incident took place in July 2019, when a Maine state trooper conducted a vehicle stop near Mars Hill. The vehicle contained the smuggler, as well as all seven of the people who were being transported illegally into the country.

After being requested for assistance, U.S. Border Patrol agents determined that all people in the vehicle were illegally residing in the United States and that seven had recently illegally crossed the border into the United States from the Canadian border.

Of those seven, three had been found to have previously been removed from the United States and were charged with re-entry after removal.

“The U.S. Border Patrol values its partnerships and cooperation with state and local agencies,” said Acting Police Chief Jason Schneider regarding the arrests. Due to the vastness of our border and lack of resources, they are more valuable than ever and this event is evidence of the value in maintaining positive relationships with our state and local law enforcement partners.”

Following their arrests, all eight people were taken into custody at the Houlton Border Patrol Station for processing. One of them was charged and convicted with alien smuggling under Title 8 U.S. Code 1324 and sentenced to eight months, time served. All will be transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the conclusion of all criminal proceedings to undergo the removal and deportation processes.

At the time of the initial arrests last July, Jason D. Owens, sector chief of the Border Patrol in Maine, also stressed the need of cooperation between the Canadian Mounted Police and state and local authorities in the state. He said there had been an uptick in apprehensions along the Maine border and the lack of resources Maine’s Canadian Mounted Police officers had compared to the border with Mexico.

“We enjoy great relationships with our state and local partners and we make every effort to respond when a request for assistance is made,” he said. “The U.S. Border Patrol is responsible for securing the border between the ports of entry. With diminished resources due to the ongoing crisis along the southwest border, our partnership with state and local authorities is more valuable than ever.”