RANGELEY – The U.S. Border Patrol arrested 22 people in two separate incidents in Wilton and Rangeley late last week.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Border Patrol agents assisted a Franklin County Sheriff’s Office deputy during a traffic stop near Wilton at approximately 6 p.m. on April 14. Seventeen people, including 15 Mexican nationals and two American citizens were reportedly in the vehicle, which was “dangerously overloaded and speeding,” according to the CBP press release.
All 15 of the Mexican nationals were allegedly in the United States illegally and were arrested by Border Patrol agents from the Rangeley station. One of the nationals, described as a 31-year-old male, was discovered to have a 2009 conviction for Human Smuggling and had also been previously convicted for illegally re-entering the U.S. after removal, a felony offense. That individual was referred to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for criminal prosecution while the other 14 Mexican nationals were entered into removal proceedings. Charges were not brought against the U.S. citizens, who were later released from custody.
“Whenever we take a criminal off the streets, it is a success. The aforementioned 31-year-old Mexican National was not only convicted of human smuggling but has also been removed from the United States twice previously. This incident is a great example of how our effective partnerships with state, county, and local law-enforcement agencies help keep our communities safe.” said John Krause, Patrol Agent in Charge of the Rangeley Border Patrol Station.
Also on April 14, and in a separate incident, Border Patrol agents from the Rangeley station encountered seven Ecuadorian nationals. According to the CBP, all seven were found to be illegally present in the United States and were processed for removal proceedings.
“Border Patrol Agents throughout Houlton Sector work hand-in-hand with partner agencies to enforce the laws enacted by congress, serve the communities of Maine and protect our vital national interests,” said Houlton Sector Chief Patrol Agent William Maddocks. “When foreign nationals enter the U.S. illegally, we never know who has a prior criminal history or other derogatory backgrounds until they are encountered by law enforcement. Unfortunately, we have seen a notable increase of foreign nationals with criminal history transiting through and working in the Rangeley Station’s area,” he added.
Rangeley Station is one of six Border Patrol Stations located in Maine, all of which fall under the jurisdiction of the Houlton Sector Headquarters. Other stations in Maine include Jackman, Van Buren, Fort Fairfield, Houlton, and Calais.