June 25, 2018
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N.J. man pleads guilty to smuggling alien

BANGOR, Maine — A New Jersey man pleaded guilty Jan. 15 in U.S. District Court to attempting to transport an alien, U.S. Attorney Paula D. Silsby announced Wednesday.

Laurentino Goncalves Branco, 34, of Kearny, N.J., faces a possible sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Court records reveal that in December 2008, Branco, with his wife and daughter, arrived at the Woodstock, New Brunswick, port of entry, seeking admission to Canada, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a press release.

“Branco stated he and his family wished to travel to Halifax to ski for one day and then return to the U.S. During a border search of Branco’s vehicle, an officer of Canada Border Services Agency discovered a map of the border area of White Settlement Road near Houlton,” the release said. “Branco admitted he was in the Houlton area in an attempt to meet Pedro Pereira (a citizen of Portugal who had previously been deported from the United States) and transport him from Maine to New Jersey by car. Earlier in the month, Branco and his wife had left New Jersey en route to Canada to make arrangements to smuggle Pereria into the United States near Houlton.”

The press release went on to say that “Branco received $1,500 from Pereira’s wife to pay another man in Canada to assist with the re-entry of … Pereira. Branco admitted to paying the $1,500 sum to the Canadian man when they met at a local restaurant. Pereira left with the other man and Branco and his family then returned to the United States. Pereira called Branco to tell [him] he was lost; when he called a second time to tell Branco he had been arrested, Branco and his family decided to return to New Jersey.”

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