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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Six Individuals Charged in a Cross Border Human Smuggling Event

The United States Attorney’s Office and the Swanton Sector of the United States Border Patrol announce that, during late evening hours of June 22, 2018, Border Patrol agents arrested five adult Mexican citizens that had illegally entered the United States. Agents also arrested another man, also a citizen of Mexico, after he picked up the individuals who had crossed illegally. Four of the individuals who crossed the border illegally, Marlene Hernandez-Cruz, Alejandro Gomez-Diaz, Jose Armando Carrillo-Carrillo, and Oscar Gomez-Montejo, were charged with illegally entering the country. The fifth individual who crossed illegally, Luis Enrique Gonzalez-Jimenez, is charged with entering illegally having been previously removed from the country. The final individual, who picked up the other five, Evelio Balcazar-Correa, is charged with alien smuggling. All six defendants made their initial appearances in federal court in Burlington before The Honorable John M. Conroy, United States Magistrate Judge for the District of Vermont.

According to the criminal complaint, in the late evening of June 22, Border Patrol Agents received a report of possibly illegal activity east of Holland, Vermont. Agents responded to the area and observed suspicious activity in the area of a pickup truck. After stopping the truck, agents identified Balcazar as one of its passengers. They also located the remaining charged individuals in the back of the truck, with their clothes and shoes covered in dirt and mud. Balcazar and the five individuals in the back of the truck were confirmed to be aliens without documentation allowing them to be in the United States. Post-arrest statements revealed that Balcazar had coordinated with individuals in Canada to pick up the Mexican citizens and bring them to the United States. Balcazar stated that he had repeatedly engaged in alien smuggling.

United States Attorney Christina E. Nolan commended Border Patrol for its efficient and effective handling of this matter, and for its diligence in protecting the integrity of Vermont’s northern border.

“This arrest is another great example of the vigilance our Border Patrol agents display on a daily basis,” said Newport Station Patrol Agent in Charge Richard Ross. “These agents prevented a smuggler from bringing aliens into the interior of the United States.”

The United States Attorney emphasizes that the charges are merely accusations, and that the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they are proven guilty.

The Swanton Sector Border Patrol is responsible for securing the land border between ports of entry in Vermont as well as New Hampshire and northeastern New York. The assistance of citizens is invaluable in helping the U.S. Border Patrol accomplish their border security mission and they welcome community members to help them keep our nation’s borders safe by reporting suspicious activity at 1-800-689-3362.

For more on CBP’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.

The prosecutor in this case is Assistant U.S. Attorney Wendy Fuller. Marlene Hernandez-Cruz, Alejandro Gomez-Diaz, Jose Armando Carrillo-Carrillo and Oscar Gomez-Montejo are represented by John-Claude Charbonneau. Luis Enrique Gonzalez-Jimenez is represented by Mark D. Oettinger. Evelio Balcazar-Correa is represented by Elizabeth Quinn.

Topic(s): 
Human Smuggling
Component(s): 
Updated June 26, 2018