Massachusetts Woman Charged with Unlawful Transportation of Individuals Who Entered the United States Illegally
The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that Patricia Ruano-Murcia, 31, of Hudson, Massachusetts, has been charged by criminal complaint for the unlawful transportation of individuals who entered the United States illegally. Ruano-Murcia is scheduled to appear before United States Magistrate Judge Kevin J. Doyle today.
According to documents in the case, on October 16, 2022, just after 1:00 am, United States Border Patrol observed people walking south, just east of the Highgate Springs Port of Entry and in close proximity to the international border with Canada. Agents investigating the suspected illegal crossings of the border encountered a Toyota RAV4 in the vicinity of Exit 22 off Interstate 89. After the first sighting of the vehicle, the RAV4 departed the area. Shortly thereafter, it returned to the same approximate location. Border Patrol subsequently stopped the RAV4, and located Ruano-Murcia, who was the driver. Three people were in the rear passenger seat of the RAV4, and three more were huddled in the rear cargo area. The six passengers in the RAV4 thereafter admitted to not being citizens of the United States and lacking immigration documents authorizing them to enter and remain in the United States.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office notes that a criminal complaint is an accusation only and that the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. If convicted, the defendant faces up to 5 years of imprisonment on the current charge. Any sentence in the case will be advised by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
U.S. Attorney Nikolas P. Kerest credited the United States Border Patrol for their investigation of Ruano-Murcia.
Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan Ophardt represents the government. Ruano-Murcia is represented by the Office of the Federal Public Defender.