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Border Patrol arrests five in human smuggling bust in Limestone, Maine

A U.S. Border Patrol K9 team operates on a snow covered road in Houlton, Maine.

LIMESTONE – On December 23 in Limestone, U.S. Border Patrol agents saw two people in a vehicle near a known illegal border crossing between the United States and Canada. A short time later, the agents saw the same vehicle, this time with five occupants, in the northern border town.

The agents stopped the vehicle and after questioning and investigation, made five arrests.

“The illicit movement of people and cross border smuggling impacts every town, city and state in this country,” said Jason D. Owens, Chief Patrol Agent of the Border Patrol in Maine. “Maine is not exempt from those impacts and does see smuggling activity.”

Among those arrested were four Mexican citizens and one United States citizen.

“These arrests can be attributed to our increased situational awareness and the diligence of our agents. It also illustrates how the roads and highways of Maine are being exploited for the illicit movement of people and goods,” said Chief Owens.

Agents determined that three of the occupants of the vehicle had just entered the country illegally, along with determining that one other occupant of the vehicle was also illegally present in the U.S.

Human smuggling is a major problem on the borders of the United States. Beyond the obvious violations of United States border policy and immigration laws, those seeking to cross the border often find themselves at the mercy of smugglers or human traffickers who hold little regard for the safety of the people they are smuggling.

While more attention has been focused on the United States’ southern border with Mexico, border patrol agents in Maine have made arrests across the state throughout the past year.

President Donald Trump has clashed with congressional Democrats over border policy. President Trump desires stronger border security and enforcement measures, with a secure barrier on the southern border.

Democrats have largely resisted Trump’s efforts to secure the border and some on the left flank of the Democratic Party have gone so far as to demand that ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and some other border security and immigration efforts be “abolished.”