Five arrested after failed human smuggling attempt in Derby

in Derby by

DERBY — U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested five, including four Guatemalans, after a failed human smuggling attempt near Derby last Saturday.

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Agents arrested Miguel Ramos, 32, of the Bronx, N.Y., and Gerardo Xar-Marroquin, 27, of Guatemala on human smuggling charges.

Authorities say the Swanton Tactical Communications Center received a report shortly before 5 p.m. of possible cross-border activity in Derby and dispatched agents to investigate.

Agents say they observed a man and two women climb into a gray minivan bearing North Carolina license plates. They joined a driver and passenger already in the van.

Agents interviewed all five people to determine their citizenship and immigration status.

Ramos, the driver, produced a New York state driver’s license and claimed to be a United States citizen. Xar-Marroquin, the initial passenger, produced a Guatemalan passport but did not possess a valid United States visitor’s visa.

The man and two women did not show any immigration documents but claimed to be Guatemalan citizens.

The agents placed all five under arrest and transported them to the Newport station for further investigation.

The van was seized.

“There are ways to legally immigrate to the United States and sneaking across the border isn’t one of them,” said Deputy Patrol Agent in charge Erik Lavallee.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Vermont is prosecuting Ramos and Xar-Marroquin.

If convicted, they each face a maximum of five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

Additionally, Xar-Marroquin faces removal from the United States and a bar to reentry for being illegally present in the United States.

Border Patrol agents administratively charged the other three individuals, a man and two women from Guatemala, under the Immigration and Naturalization Act for illegally entering the United States.

They are prohibited from releasing their names since they weren’t criminally charged.

The three remain in custody as material witnesses and face removal from the U.S.

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