MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehended more than a dozen people from Mexico and two Central American countries, including a 4-year-old child and a pregnant woman, after some illegally entered the United States from Canada, officials said Tuesday.
Sixteen people were taken into custody Sunday at a motel in Vermont, just south of the Quebec border, according to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday in federal court in Burlington. Authorities said they crossed into the country from Canada and came from Mexico and Guatemala.
Officials say Hector Ramon Perez Alvarado, of Honduras, made at least two trips from the motel to an area in Vermont near the Quebec border. He faces human smuggling charges. Two others in the group, Mexican citizens Noe Perez-Ramirez and Alberto Alvarado-Castro, were charged with being in the United States illegally after previously being deported.
Efforts to reach attorneys for the three were unsuccessful. No one else in the group had been charged.
Border Patrol agents received a tip late Saturday afternoon that led agents to focus on a spot just south of the Beebe Plain port of entry, said U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman Stephanie Malin.
Early Saturday evening, agents followed a van from the Four Seasons Motel to an area in Derby about 1,500 feet (460 meters) south of the Canadian border, according to an affidavit by Border Patrol agent Matthew Palma. The van turned onto a side road and then quickly returned to the motel, Palma said.
Agents began to watch the van while another agent hid in the woods. When the van, later determined to be driven by Perez-Alvarado, approached the area a second time, the agent in the woods “heard multiple subjects running through the wooded area near the border he was watching,” Palma said.
Agents using night-vision equipment watched several people run south, some of them using cellphones.
The agents stopped the van when it got back to the hotel. Perez-Alvarado and six other people got out. Agents found nine more people in Perez-Alvarado’s room.
Malin called it the largest single apprehension of people in memory by Border Patrol agents in the agency’s Swanton Sector, which runs almost 300 miles, from the Maine-New Hampshire border to upstate New York.
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