BANGOR, Maine — A Quebec man who admitted that he attempted to smuggle his wife into the United States last month to vacation with family in Florida was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court to time served and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine.
Pierre Poulin, 40, of St. Martin, Quebec, pleaded guilty three weeks ago to one count of encouraging and inducing illegal entry into the U.S. He had been held at the Somerset County Jail since his arrest July 17 at the Jackman border crossing.
Poulin apologized to the border officials who arrested him.
“I’m very sorry for what I did,” he said prior to sentencing. “I really regret it.”
Poulin is expected to be released and returned to Canada Tuesday afternoon.
Nearly a dozen people from both sides of the border attended Poulin’s sentencing to show their support.
In imposing the sentence, U.S. District Judge John Woodcock said that Poulin would be banned from entering the country without prior permission from the U.S. Attorney General’s Office.
“It’s really a terrible shame you chose to try and sneak [your wife] across the border,” Woodcock said in imposing the sentence. “She had the potential to enter the country legally in just a few weeks.”
Poulin’s wife is banned from entering the U.S. until May 2022 due to an illegal border crossing years ago, Poulin’s attorney, Walter McKee of Augusta, told Woodcock. McKee said that she had applied to Canadian officials to leave the country for the vacation but the paperwork was not processed quickly enough.
The incident that led to Poulin’s arrest occurred on July 17, when he arrived at the Jackman border, according to court documents. Poulin told a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent that he was heading for Logan International Airport in Boston for a flight to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
During the initial inspection, Poulin appeared to be traveling alone. However, the agent noticed that he had luggage that appeared to belong to a woman in the back of his SUV.
During a secondary inspection, authorities found a valid Brazilian passport and a lawful permanent Canadian resident card belonging to a woman named Karoline Ramos de Oliveira, as well as several articles of women’s clothing, a purse, a two-way radio and a cellphone that showed a map of the local area. The woman is married to Poulin.
Border police officers based in Jackman were advised of the inconsistencies and targeted the Arnold Farm area, where they intercepted a woman fitting Oliveira’s description, according to court documents. When officers caught up with the woman, she had a two-way radio of the same make and model as the one found in Poulin’s possession. Oliveira was sent back to Canada.
Poulin faced up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Under the prevailing federal sentencing guidelines, he faced between zero to six months in prison and a fine of between $500 and $5,000.