Seven people were arrested Monday on federal charges after allegedly crossing illegally into Maine from Canada Saturday. Some of them were spotted in a field in Mars Hill by drones.
Two other people have not been located, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
Information about where they may have been going was not included in court documents.
All seven appeared Tuesday before Magistrate Judge John Nivison in U.S. District Court in Bangor.
The group of people came to the attention of the U.S. Border Patrol about 9 p.m. Friday when agents were alerted that nine people had crossed the border at East Ridge Road, which dead ends at the boundary, according to affidavits filed in federal court.
The border is secured there by a large orange gate with a sign that says crossing there is illegal because there is no inspection station.
Agents found footprints from the road into a wooded area but were unable to locate anyone in the dense trees, the affidavits said. While that search was going on, border patrol agents allegedly saw a black Volkswagen Jetta with Tennessee plates turn onto the East Ridge Road.
Two men from New York were found in the car and detained.
The search for the others resumed Saturday morning when a drone spotted five people crossing a field, according to court documents. When they heard the drones, they returned to the woods but came out when ordered.
Those five are from Puebla, Mexico, a city in east-central Mexico, southeast of Mexico City. The two men who were in the Jetta are from New York but are in the United States illegally, their affidavits said.
The defendants from Puebla were charged with entry without inspection, a minor federal offense. They are: Miguel Angel Rodriguez Sanchez, 18; Lizbeth Plata Hernandez, 20; David Jimenez Torres, 33; Arturo Estrada Aviles, 35; and Elizabeth Cruz Gomez, 32.
Eduardo Ruiz Rojas, 36, of Staten Island, New York, and Manuel Donilla Davila, 38, of New York City, are charged with reentry after removal. Both men were removed from the United States to Mexico on Sept. 19. 2019, but a week later illegally crossed the border again, according to court documents.
All of the defendants are expected to be turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for removal to Mexico after their cases are resolved.
The punishment for entry without inspection is up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. The New York men face up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted.