December 15, 2017

Feds: 15-person human smuggling attempt thwarted

The federal government detained three men Tuesday after a hearing in United States District Court in Burlington, charging them in connection with an alleged smuggling attempt of 15 people into the United States near the Canadian border in Derby, Vt., on Saturday.

The U.S. Department of Justice alleges that 25-year-old Hector Ramon Perez-Alvarado of Honduras used a van to help 11 Guatemalan citizens and four Mexican citizens cross the border at Derby.

Two of the Mexican citizens, Noe Perez-Ramires, 33, and Alberto Alvarado-Castro, 29, were charged with re-entry after previously being deported.

According to the U.S. Justice Department, both men were removed from the country on multiple occasions; Alvarado-Castro reportedly has multiple felony burglary convictions.According to a press release from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, border patrol agents spotted a van Saturday night making multiple trips from a motel in Derby to an unidentified spot off a side road near the border.

Agents reportedly saw several people on foot near the van heading south from the border. Agents pulled the van over in the motel parking lot. It allegedly contained six passengers without legal status, and was driven by Perez-Alvarado, also without legal status.

Agents then searched a hotel room and found nine more people without legal status. The defendants are in the custody of the U.S. Marshal Service and have been assigned public defenders.

“This case in an excellent example of the dedication and hard work put forth by border patrol agents to keep our country and communities safe,” Border Patrol Swanton Sector Chief John Pfeifer said in a press release.

“Our agents did an outstanding job thwarting this smuggling attempt.”

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