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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Vermont

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 9, 2015

New York Alien Smuggler Sentenced

The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced that Roberto Rivera-Ortiz, 28, a resident of the New York City area, was sentenced today in United States District Court in Burlington following his guilty plea to a charge that he made false statements to members of the United States Border Patrol.  Chief U.S. District Judge Christina Reiss sentenced Rivera-Ortiz to time served, to be followed by one year of supervised release.  As a condition of supervised release, the court ordered Rivera-Ortiz to perform 100 hours of community service. 

According to court records, on the morning of September 2, 2014, Border Patrol agents in Derby Line encountered a male and a female after they had walked across the United States-Canadian border through a clump of trees in a residential area.  When the two individuals noticed a marked Border Patrol cruiser nearby, they began running in a southerly direction.  Agents apprehended the male, a Mexican national with no status in the United States.  The female, who proved to be a citizen of El Salvador, was arrested the next day.  

At about the same time, another Border Patrol agent noticed Rivera-Ortiz standing beside a vehicle on a street in Derby Line, near where the aliens had been encountered.  The hood on Rivera-Ortiz's vehicle was up and he was talking on a cellphone.  Immigrations records showed that Rivera-Ortiz's car had entered Canada at Niagara Falls last June, and had entered the United States at Derby Line earlier that morning.  When questioned about his nationality and immigration status, Rivera-Ortiz appeared nervous.  Agents escorted the defendant to the Newport Border Patrol station, where they soon established that he had transported the two aliens from Montreal to just north of the border, let them out to cross the border on foot, entered the United States lawfully in his car and was in the process of attempting to pick them up to drive them to New York when he was approached by the Border Patrol.

Rivera-Ortiz is represented by Assistant Federal Public Defender David McColgin.  The prosecutor is Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Waples.

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Updated June 22, 2015