2 men arrested in border smuggling case

Posted Dec. 30, 2008, at 7:35 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 13, 2011, at 11:09 a.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Two men arrested Saturday in the Houlton area have been charged in U.S. District Court in Bangor with violating immigration laws.

One man is charged with being in the country after deportation. The other man is charged with trying to help smuggle the illegal alien across the border.

Pedro Miguel Pereira Gloria, 34, of Perdigao Anadia, Portugal, was found sometime Saturday walking along White Settlement Road in East Hodgdon by a U.S. Border Patrol Agent, according to court documents. He told the agent that he did not know that he was in the U.S. but had become lost walking around in Canada.

Pereira appeared Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk on the charge of re-entry after deportation. Immigration records showed that Pereira was deported in August from New Jersey. Pereira agreed to be held without bail until the resolution of his case.

If convicted, he faces up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Laurentino Goncalves Branco, 34, of Kearny, N.J., first attempted Friday night to cross the border into Canada at Woodstock, New Brunswick, with his wife and daughter, according to court documents. He told officers with the Canada Border Services that the family planned to go skiing in Halifax, but during a search of his car, agents found a map of the White Settlement Road area near Houlton.

Because there were no immigration officials on duty, Canadian agents sent Branco, who is a U.S. citizen, back to the U.S. and suggested he and his family return Saturday morning, according to court documents. Canadian agents communicated to their U.S. counterparts their suspicions that Branco might be planning to smuggle someone into the country.

After questioning Pereira on Saturday, investigators phoned Branco and asked him to come to the Houlton Border Patrol Station for questioning, according to court documents. Branco allegedly admitted that he had planned to meet Pereira in East Hodgdon and drive him to New Jersey. He said that he knew Pereira when he lived in New Jersey earlier this year.

Branco told agents that he had been given $1,500 by Pereira’s wife to pay a smuggler in Canada who transported her husband from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Woodstock, New Brunswick, according to court documents. The New Jersey man allegedly confessed that he crossed the border legally into Canada on Saturday morning and gave the money to a man named Brian, who gave him the map.

Branco is charged with attempt to transport an alien. He appeared Monday before Kravchuk, who set bail at $15,000 unsecured.

If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

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