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Press Release

Australian Woman Pleads Guilty to Encouraging and Inducing Illegal Entry

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maine

Bangor, Maine:  United States Attorney Halsey B. Frank announced that Sarah Louise Branch, 37, of New South Wales, Australia pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court to encouraging and inducing the entry of an illegal alien into the United States. 

According to court records, on July 10, 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents searched the vehicle the defendant was driving when she sought admission to the United States at a Port of Entry in Calais, Maine and discovered a Mexican passport, male clothing and photographs of a male, later identified as Benigno Godinez-Cortez.  The defendant admitted that she dropped her boyfriend, Godinez-Cortez, off in Canada near the U.S. border knowing that he was a citizen of Mexico and would not be admitted into the United States and that she intended to pick him up after he entered the United States illegally.  

She faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  She will be sentenced after completion of a presentence investigation report by the U.S. Probation Office.  Godinez-Cortez pled guilty today in U.S. District Court to unlawfully re-entering the United States and awaits sentencing.

The investigation was conducted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.


Jim Moore
Assistant United States Attorney
Tel: (207) 945-0373

Updated August 14, 2018