February 25, 2018
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El Salvador man illegally in US arrested in Calais trying to sneak into Canada

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — A native of El Salvador was arrested last week near the Milltown train trestle in Calais and charged with one count of re-entry after removal from the United States.

Jokeli Antonio Moran Cunza, 25, of Sonsonate, El Salvador, told U.S. Border Patrol agents that he was planning to sneak into Canada across the trestle that spans the St. Croix River, according to court documents filed in U.S. District Court.

Moran Cunza made his first court appearance Oct. 15 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk. She ordered that he be held without bail.

The man came to the attention of border patrol about 7:45 p.m when an agent saw a bicycle leaning up against the trestle gate, the affidavit said. A black bag and backpack containing personal items were found in the bushes nearby.

“The bicycle had rope tied to it, going from the bicycle over the trestle gate,” the affidavit said. “He also noticed a long piece of birch wood lying on the ground with rope tied around it with a pulley apparatus attached.”

Court documents do not explain the purpose of the apparatus.

Agents hid themselves in the area to wait for the owner of the bicycle and other items to return. After about 20 minutes, Moran Cunza emerged through the bushes and was headed toward the bag and backpack when he was arrested.

Moran Cunza first was arrested in 2004 in California for being illegally in the country. He claimed to be a citizen of Mexico and was allowed to return voluntarily to that country.

He was arrested again in 2004 in Laredo, Texas, and ordered removed the following year after he did not appear before an immigration judge. Moran Cunza was arrested yet again in 2007 in New Mexico and returned to El Salvador.

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

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