Credit: Dreamstime | TNS

A U.S. citizen and four Mexican nationals were arrested in Aroostook County early last week in what border officials called a “human smuggling attempt.”

On Dec. 23, Border Patrol agents spotted a vehicle with two occupants in a remote area near Limestone known to authorities an illegal crossing between Canada and the U.S., according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The agents later spotted the same vehicle with three additional occupants, Customs and Border Protection said Friday.

After stopping the vehicle, agents determined four of the occupants, who were from Mexico, were in the country illegally, according to Customs and Border Protection.

Rudolpho Macedonio-Secundino, 38, of Corona, New York, and Raul Tequihuaxtle-Chavez, 46, were charged with bringing in and harboring illegal immigrants. Tequihuaxtle-Chavez’s state or country of origin wasn’t immediately available.

The three passengers in the vehicle — Benito Ponce-Garcia, 55, Maximino Modesto Machorro-Paredes, 70, and Beneranda Teresa Reynosa-Ramos, 29 — reportedly admitted to agents that they had traveled illegally from Mexico to Canada in order to cross into the United States, according to Homeland Security documents.

All men were tried before a judge at the U.S. District Court in Bangor on Thursday, and are being held without bail. Ponce-Garcia has been charged with entry after removal, while Machorro-Paredes and Reynosa-Ramos have been charged with improper entry by an alien.

Ponce-Garcia previously was deported in 2011 after illegally crossing into the United States from the Del Rio International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas.

Aroostook Republican & News writer Melissa Lizotte contributed to this report.