Border Patrol interstate checkpoint nabs ‘several’ aliens
SHERMAN, Maine — Motorists heading south on Interstate 95 last week were in for a surprise as traffic came to a standstill just south of Sherman thanks to an immigration checkpoint conducted by the U.S. Border Patrol.
From Wednesday, July 26, to Friday, July 28, members of the U.S. Border Patrol set up the immigration checkpoint on the southbound lane of I-95, stopping motorists to ask them questions.
A spokesman for the agency would not offer specifics, but indicated that the “operation in the Houlton sector resulted in the processing of several immigration violations including criminal aliens, arrests of individuals with outstanding warrants, and numerous narcotics seizures.”
Jonathan Maynard, public affairs liaison for the U.S. Border Patrol/Houlton Sector, said Tuesday that federal law (Title 8, Section 1357) gives border patrol agents “the authority to stop and question a person at a checkpoint concerning his or her right to be or remain in the United States.
“Border Patrol agents are authorized to detain persons whom they reasonably suspect are in violation of U.S. immigration law or are involved in criminal activity. These immigration checkpoints are not a new practice and have been previously conducted within Houlton Sector.”
According to Maynard, such checkpoints are a “critical enforcement tool” for carrying out the mission of securing the nation’s borders against transnational threats.
“Checkpoints deny major routes of egress from the borders to smugglers intent on delivering people, drugs and other contraband to the interior of the United States,” he said. “This approach, along with additional resources in the form of technology, personnel, and strong partnerships with international, state, local and tribal law enforcement and local communities has resulted in a significant decline in illegal cross border activity, as measured by border patrol apprehensions.”
Maynard declined to say how many checkpoint operations the U.S. Border Patrol has conducted this year or typically conducts annually, stating that such information is “law enforcement sensitive.”
He also declined to answer how many officers were involved in the latest checkpoint, though at least a dozen were visible, according to some drivers who were stopped.
U.S. Border Patrol canines were part of the detail as they are one of the many assets the agency uses to detect concealed humans and other illegal contraband.
“Checkpoints have been conducted along both the northern and southern border for many years,” Maynard stated, and will continue to be part of the agency’s enforcement efforts.