Arrest halts illegal entry for romance

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff
Posted March 16, 2009, at 11:07 a.m.

BANGOR, Maine — An alert U.S. Border Patrol agent on Friday night thwarted an apparent international Internet romance when he arrested a Canadian man who had walked across a deserted train trestle near Calais to hook up with a Lewiston woman he had met online.

Richard Wayne Matthews, 46, of St. Stephen, New Brunswick, will have the next seven days to think about whether his brief few moments with the American woman were worth entering the country illegally.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk sentenced Matthews on Monday to seven days in jail after he pleaded guilty to the federal misdemeanor charge of entry into the U.S. without inspection by walking across the trestle instead of going through a border crossing station.

Matthews, according to court documents, is barred from entering the U.S. because he has convictions in Canada for theft, forgery, assault and tobacco smuggling. He had been refused entry into the country on at least three occasions — in 1985, 1992 and 1993.

After he walked across the trestle, Matthews got into a car driven by a woman who had a boy with her, according to court documents. The St. Stephen man told the Border Patrol agent after his arrest that he had met the woman three weeks earlier on the Internet and had planned to live with her in Lewiston.

The woman and her son were not identified in court documents. As of late Monday, she had not been charged in relation to the incident.

The Border Patrol agent, according to court documents, was dispatched to an area near the old trestle over the St. Croix River between Calais and St. Stephen about 8:15 p.m. Friday after activity had been detected on the bridge. Court documents do not explain how that activity was detected, but since Sept. 11, 2001, movement sensors have been placed at known illegal crossing points along the border.

A few minutes later, according to court documents, the agent moved his car to Poorhouse Lane, which leads down to the river and the trestle in Calais. When he saw a car coming toward him from the river area, the agent pulled it over. Matthews was in the passenger seat.

The Canadian man told the Border Patrol agent, according to court documents, that because his mother was an American, he thought he could be in the U.S. He also admitted arranging to have the Lewiston woman meet him in Calais not far from where the train trestle connects with U.S. soil.

Matthews faced a maximum of six months in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. If he is found in the U.S. again, he could face federal felony charges, which would put him behind bars for much longer than the week he got.

jharrison@bangordailynews.net

990-8207

http://bangordailynews.com/2009/03/16/news/bangor/arrest-halts-illegal-entry-for-romance/ printed on August 23, 2014