Two Canadians Appear In Court On Alien Smuggling Charge
The United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced that Junior Alcantara-Ramirez, 29, of Quebec City, and Ginna Reyes-Santos, 31, of Montreal, appeared today in United States District Court in Burlington following their arrest on a charge of alien smuggling. U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Conroy ordered that both defendants be detained pending further proceedings.
According to the criminal complaint filed today, Border Patrol agents encountered the defendants near Highgate, Vermont at about 3 a.m. on August 12. The defendants were in a car parked by the side of the road with its lights off. In the back seat of the car, agents identified two Indian nationals who had no permission to be in the United States. Records checks showed that the car the defendants were driving had entered the United States from Canada lawfully about one hour earlier. At the time of entry, Alcantara-Ramirez and Reyes-Santos were the only occupants of the car.
According to the complaint, during a subsequent interview with Border Patrol agents, one of the aliens admitted that an unidentified Canadian female had driven the two aliens from Montreal to the border area, let them out and directed them to walk across the border into Vermont. The aliens were given directions where to rendezvous with another driver on the U.S. side of the border. The second driver would transport the aliens to New York City in exchange for a total of $4000.
The smuggled aliens are currently in custody and are being held as material witnesses.
The United States Attorney emphasizes that the charge in the complaint is merely an accusation and that the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they are proven guilty.
If convicted, the defendants face 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.
Alcantara-Ramirez is represented by Assistant Federal Public Defender Liz Quinn. Reyes-Santos is represented by Katina Francis Ready. The prosecutor is Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Waples.