by Mike Donoghue, Vermont News First
An illegal immigrant from Mexico, who officials say has been ordered removed at least twice for unlawfully being in the United States, has been busted in Essex County as part of a human smuggling case involving a handful of other illegal immigrants, according to the U.S. Border Patrol.
Juan Godinez-Antonio, 45, is named in a criminal complaint charging that he was in the Northeast Kingdom this week without seeking authorization to re-enter the United States, federal court records show.
Judge Christina Reiss ordered Godinez-Antonio held without bail Tuesday after prosecutors said he was a serious risk to flee.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul J. Van de Graaf said Godinez-Antonio has been removed multiple times and was involved in an alien smuggling event when arrested this time. He said an immigration detainer also has been filed against him so even if he was released, he would be taken into custody and likely removed from the county before his criminal case can be resolved.
Van de Graaf also noted that as an illegal immigrant in the country unlawfully, Godinez-Antonio would have little reason to return to court to face his charge.
The U.S. Border Patrol said agents assigned to the Beecher Falls Patrol Station learned seven people were walking south from the U.S./Canada international border at about 3:54 a.m. Sunday.
Border Patrol Agents later encountered six individuals lying in the brush on the side of Breault Road in Canaan, federal court records note. Four of the six had jumped into a stream at the bottom of a steep embankment, Border Patrol Agent Blake Thilkey said in a court affidavit.
All six admitted they were citizens of Mexico and had just crossed the border through the woods from Canada, Thilkey said. They were arrested and transported to the Border Patrol Office in Canaan for processing, the Border Patrol said.
Investigation showed Godinez-Antonio was arrested for illegal entry in Arizona ion March 30, 2013. Godinez-Antonio was ordered removed on April 1, 2013, and removed three days later from Calexico, California, records show.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement from Cincinnati, Ohio helped to remove Godinez-Antonio again after he finished serving a 90-day sentence at the Butler County Jail on June 28 this year for apparently failing to stop after a traffic accident, court records show.
Reiss agreed to set a probable cause hearing for Godinez-Antonio on Nov. 6. If a federal grand jury formally indicts him in the interim, Godinez-Antonio will lose the right to the hearing and will likely be arraigned that day.
The Border Patrol did not say whether the others were handled through the “catch and release” program as first-time offenders.