American border officials say agents in Houlton, Maine, arrested 13 foreign nationals and one U.S. citizen who tried to cross into the United States from western New Brunswick.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency says agents from the Van Buren Station were alerted on Jan. 19 to an illegal entry in Caswell, near Grand Falls, N.B.
By following footprints in the snow, agents arrested seven men from Mexico.
“Due to the cold temperatures, trained Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) agents assessed the group and evaluated one of the subjects for frostbite,” officials said in a statement.
“One of the subjects showing signs of frostbite was transported to a local hospital, treated and released.”
Officials say events like these “highlight the disregard smugglers have for the life and safety of individuals they attempt to bring into the United States.”
Border agents say five men were first-time offenders, while the other two had previously been removed from the United States.
Agents from the Calais Station then responded to illegal cross-border activity on Jan. 20 near Lambert Lake, located west of the border crossing at St. Croix, N.B.
“Responding agents observed a suspicious vehicle and stopped the suspected vehicle for an immigration inspection,” officials said in a statement.
“Agents discovered that all six adult Vietnamese passengers had made illegal entry into the U.S. and were subsequently arrested.”
Border officials say an investigation found the driver of the vehicle was an American citizen who was detained under suspicion of human smuggling.
All six people were found to be first-time offenders and processed for removal from the United States, while the American citizen was released, pending further investigation.
Officials say both investigations resulted in $5,000 fines for each of the 13 offenders for illegally entering the United States.
Chief Patrol Agent William Maddocks said Maine doesn’t have a large influx of illegal entries, such as those seen on the Southwest Border of the United States.
“But there certainly is transnational criminal activity occurring here,” he said.
“My team will make every effort to deliver maximum legal consequences and penalties to those we arrest in violation of federal law.”