NEWPORT, Vt. – U.S. Border Patrol agents from Newport, Vt., Station arrested five, including four Guatemalans, after a failed human smuggling attempt near Derby, Vt., on Saturday.
Agents arrested Miguel Ramos, 32, of the Bronx, N.Y., and Gerardo Xar-Marroquin, 27, of Guatemala, and claiming residency in Angier, N.C., on human smuggling charges.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Vermont is prosecuting Ramos and Xar-Marroquin. If convicted, they each face a maximum of five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. Additionally, Xar-Marroquin faces removal from the United States and a bar to reentry for being illegally present in the United States.
Border Patrol agents administratively charged the other three individuals, a man and two women from Guatemala, under the Immigration and Naturalization Act for illegally entering the United States. The Border Patrol is prohibited from releasing their names since they weren’t criminally charged. The three remain in custody as material witnesses and face removal from the U.S.
“These arrests illustrate the quick response of Border Patrol agents to disrupt human smuggling and other nefarious activity along our nation’s northern border,” said Acting Deputy Patrol Agent in Charge Erik Lavallee. “There are ways to legally immigrate to the United States and sneaking across the border isn’t one of them. I commend these agents for their quick work in assessing the situation and in teaching this serious lesson to these illegal aliens and their smugglers.”
The Swanton Border Patrol Sector Tactical Communications Center received a report shortly before 5 p.m. Saturday of possible cross-border illegal activity in Derby and dispatched Border Patrol agents from Newport Station to investigate. Newport Station agents observed a man and two women climb into a grey minivan bearing North Carolina license plates. They joined a driver and passenger already in the van.
Agents interviewed all five people to determine their citizenship and immigration status. Ramos, the driver, produced a New York state driver’s license and claimed to be a United States citizen. Xar-Marroquin, the initial passenger, produced a Guatemalan passport, but did not possess a valid United States visitor’s visa. The man and two women did not show any immigration documents, but claimed to be Guatemalan citizens.
The agents placed all five under arrest and transported them to the Newport station for further investigation. Agents seized the van.
Criminal charges are merely allegations. Defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.
The Swanton Sector is responsible for securing the land border between ports of entry in Vermont, New Hampshire and northeastern New York. The assistance of citizens is invaluable to the Border Patrol's border security mission and we welcome community members' help to keep our nation’s borders safe. Please report suspicious activity at 1-800-689-3362.
For more on Customs and Border Protection’s mission at our nation’s ports of entry with CBP officers and along U.S. borders with Border Patrol agents, please visit the Border Security section of the CBP website.