Four arrested during human smuggling attempt in Derby Line

in Derby Line/News by

DERBY LINE — U.S. Border Patrol Agents say they arrested four people during a human smuggling episode that took place in Derby Line, near the Vermont-Canadian border on Saturday night.

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According to court records, at approximately 8:20 p.m. on February 27, 2016, agents received a report of possible cross-border illegal activity near Derby Line. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Newport station responded to the area and watched a man lead two other persons south across the international border.

South of the border, the three individuals were picked up by a 2008 Infinity automobile with New Jersey license plates.

As the car proceeded south on Interstate 91, Border Patrol agents performed a traffic stop and arrested the four occupants.

The occupants of the Infinity were all natives of the Ukraine and Georgia.

Two had obtained U.S. Citizenship and are suspected of smuggling into the country the two passengers, neither of whom had legal authority to be in the United States.

Authorities say the driver and owner of the car, Tamar Toradze, 27, had driven north to the border area with Levan Arutinov, 25, to pick up the two illegals.

A Criminal Complaint charges the driver, and her front seat passenger, Levan Arutinov, 25, with alien smuggling and conspiracy. If convicted, they each face a maximum of ten years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

Because Arutinov is a lawfully admitted permanent resident of the United States, he also faces removal from the United States and a bar to reentry.

One of the illegal aliens, Mykhaylo Andrushko, a 48 year old citizen of the Ukraine, had been previously removed from the United States. He allegedly produced a Hungarian passport with a false name when confronted by Border Patrol agents. A Criminal Complaint charges him with reentry after removal. He faces a maximum of two years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. He also faces removal from the United States and bar to reentry.

The other illegal alien, Nino Lempanintze, a 33 year-old native and resident of Georgia with Greek citizenship, is detained as a material witness.

“This is a great example of some of the training and unique skills our agents use to perform their border security mission,” said Patrol Agent in Charge Fernando Beltran. “I commend these agents for their work securing our border with Canada.”

All four had court appearances on Monday.

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