Californian Charged With Alien Smuggling
The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that Fabian Hugo De Mestico, 47, of California, appeared on November 21, 2014 in United States District Court in Burlington following his arrest for alien smuggling. U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Conroy released De Mestico on conditions pending his next court hearing.
According to court records, in the early evening of November 20, a Border Patrol Agent near Canaan, Vermont noticed footprints on a back road that parallels the border, which suggested that someone had walked into the United States from Canada without reporting to a port-of-entry. The agent alerted other agents in the area. Another agent noticed a car, which contained two men, pulling out of a gas station in Canaan. The car had an out-of-state license plate which was registered to a car rental company. The agent stopped the vehicle, which was driven by De Mestico. The passenger was a Polish citizen who has no immigration status in the United States. Subsequent investigation showed that De Mestico had flown to Vermont from California on November 19, rented a car here and then driven to Montreal. De Mestico met the alien in Canada, drove him to a point north of the border, and then let him walk across the border. De Mestico picked the alien up near Canaan and planned to drive him to Boston.
The United States Attorney emphasizes that the charge against De Mestico is merely an accusation and that the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until he is proven guilty.
If convicted, De Mestico faces up to ten years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000. The actual sentence would be determined with reference to federal sentencing guidelines.
De Mestico is represented by Assistant Federal Public Defender Steve Barth. The prosecutor is Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Waples.