A U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter flies over Monument Park in Houlton in 2016. Credit: Joseph Cyr / Houlton Pioneer Times

HOULTON, Maine — Twenty-seven Romanian people were sent back to Canada after U.S. Border Patrol agents took them into custody on Feb. 25 for allegedly crossing the border illegally.

The agents intercepted a convoy of four vehicles that was trying to cross the border near Union Corners — located parallel to the Lincoln Road in Hodgdon, on the Canadian side of the border. There is no official border crossing station there.

Border Patrol agents from the Houlton Station, Sector Intelligence Unit, and Houlton Sector Headquarters intercepted the four vehicles as they attempted further entry into the United States.

“This was a coordinated effort by Houlton Sector between the various stations on the eastern border, but also of our international partners in the Canada Border Services Agency to process and return them to Canada,” said Acting Patrol Agent in Charge Jodi Williams.

All 27 Romanian people were in the United States illegally and transported to the Fort Fairfield Station for further processing. One was taken to the Houlton Regional Hospital for evaluation of a medical concern, and later was released back into Border Patrol custody, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Border agents seized the four vehicles involved in the illegal entry, plus a significant amount of U.S. and foreign currency.

“I could not be prouder of how effectively this organized criminal event was handled by the Houlton Sector agents and professional staff,” Sector Chief William J Maddocks said. “National Security is vital here in Maine just as it is anywhere else in the country. When my team protects the border here, we protect our national interests.”

Houlton is one of six U.S. Border Patrol stations in Maine, all of which fall under the Houlton Sector Headquarters. Agents assigned to the Houlton Station are responsible for securing 98 miles of border between the United States and Canada, located on Maine’s Eastern border with Canada.