Mexican man dies after collapsing during encounter
A 31-year-old woman from Ecuador made her initial appearance in court charging her with unlawfully attempting to transport three individuals within the United States. Maria Constante-Zamora remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending further proceedings.
One of the men, Leos Cervantes of Mexico, collapsed during the encounter and later was pronounced dead at a Newport hospital.
Attempted crossings of the Swanton sector of the U.S. Border Patrol are about seven times higher than last year, as organized human smugglers are increasingly trying to access the U.S. through the northern border. Once in U.S. Marshal custody, at least some of the detainees are held in Vermont Dept. of Corrections prisons, a DOC spokesperson said this week.
According to public documents in the case, during the late evening hours of February 19, the United States Border Patrol observed camera images of three individuals walking south from Canada into the United States in the vicinity of Goodall Road in Holland.
Based on this information suggesting a nearby illegal border crossing, the United States Border Patrol initiated a traffic stop of a vehicle on Goodall Road. Before the vehicle stop, Border Patrol Agents observed the vehicle turn on its lights and travel slowly on Goodall Road.
The vehicle, with Connecticut license plates, slowed and stopped in the location where the three individuals would have been likely to exit the woods. Before the vehicle stop, the vehicle also blinked its lights and then accelerated quickly.
After the stop, Border Patrol identified Maria Constante-Zamora as the passenger in the vehicle and as an Ecuadoran national living in Connecticut.
In close proximity to the vehicle stop, Border Patrol Agents saw three individuals standing on the side of the road. One of the individuals was clutching a tree and appeared to be in distress.
The other two of the three subjects proceeded to run north toward Canada. None of them were apprehended at that time because the individual clutching the tree collapsed.
Border Patrol Agents rendered aid to the individual who collapsed until EMS arrived. EMS continued to render aid and also transported the individual to North Country Hospital in Newport where they were pronounced dead.
At this time, a cause of death has not been determined.
One of the individuals who ran north toward Canada, Oscar Soto-Acosta, was eventually apprehended and has been ordered detained as a material witness.