Alexandria Bay, N.Y. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection Field Operations announced the arrest of two United States citizens and a Haitian national in the smuggling attempt.
On March 7, CBP officers at the Alexandria Bay, N.Y. port of entry encountered 37-year-old Vernetta Sullivan and her sister, 39-year-old Conay Robinson, both United States citizens from Virginia, as they applied for admission into the United States. The subjects advised CBP officers that they were returning to United States after visiting friends in Montreal, Quebec. A cursory inspection of the rear cargo area of the sport utility vehicle being driven by Ms. Sullivan revealed several pieces of luggage and a large hockey bag. Upon closer inspection of the hockey bag, CBP officers discovered a male subject hiding inside the bag. The male subject was removed from the hockey bag and all three individuals were escorted to the CBP secure facility for further processing.
During the course of the interview, CBP officers determined the identity of the male subject to be that of Benedict Pierre, a 38-year-old Haitian national who had illegally entered the United States in 2003 by means of fraud. Mr. Pierre was ordered deported from the country in 2006, but fled to Canada prior to being removed, where he was seeking asylum.
Ms. Sullivan admitted to CBP that she and Pierre have been dating for approximately four years and she was attempting to further his unlawful entry into the United States with the intending of getting married. Ms. Robinson also admitted knowledge of the smuggling attempt.
Both Ms. Sullivan and Ms. Robinson were arrested by CBP on alien smuggling charges, and Pierre was arrested for attempting to illegally enter the United States. All three subjects are being detained pending prosecution by the U.S. Attorney's Office.
"This case demonstrates the extreme lengths and unique methods individuals will utilize to attempt to illegal enter our country," said Randy Howe, CBP assistant director of Field Operations for the Buffalo Field Office
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.