BANGOR, Maine — A native of Cameroon who has asylum in the U.S. made his first appearance Monday before a federal judge after being arrested over the weekend at the Houlton border crossing for allegedly helping a friend enter the country illegally.
Evaristus Sama Nyambi, 33, of Laurel, Md., is charged with aiding and abetting entry into the U.S. by willful misrepresentation.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk ordered Monday that Nyambi be held temporarily without bail. A detention hearing to determine whether he will be released pending a trial will be held Friday in U.S. District Court in Bangor.
Nyambi was arrested Saturday, according to court documents.
He arrived at the Houlton border crossing about 4:09 p.m. and told officers that he was returning to Maryland after visiting a friend in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, according to court documents. Officers found three large suitcases filled with women’s clothing in the car.
A large amount of paperwork was found under the driver’s side floor mat, the affidavit said. It included a Cameroon birth certificate, Canadian student visas, copies of a Cameroon passport and other documents belonging to a woman, who was not traveling with Nyambi.
Nyambi allegedly confessed that the woman was his girlfriend and he had visited her previously in Canada, according to court documents. She decided to return to Maryland with him but crossed the border with a friend of Nyambi’s.
“When asked why [she] was not riding with him, Nyambi explained that it would be easier for her to get into the U.S. traveling with his friend because she would not be inspected as hard because he was a U.S. citizen,” the affidavit said.
Officers contacted Nyambi’s friend on Nyambi’s cellphone. The friend said that he and Nyambi’s girlfriend were in Massachusetts but were willing to meet investigators in Kittery. A short time later, the friend called an agent and said that while he was getting gas, the woman got into a taxi and he did not know where she went.
If convicted, Nyambi faces up to six months in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Information about what effect a conviction might have on his immigration status was not available Tuesday.