MISSOULA — Two Washington residents suspected of transporting six illegal aliens who allegedly crossed into the United States from Canada near Eureka made their initial appearances in federal court in Missoula on Jan. 21.
According to U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson, criminal complaints filed in the case accuse Leslie Patricia Rivera, 51, and Miguel Angel Medina, 61, both of the Seattle area of conspiracy to transport and transportation of illegal aliens.
A criminal complaint is only an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, a news release notes.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen L. DeSoto presided. Rivera was detained pending further proceedings. Medina was released on conditions pending further proceedings after a detention hearing today.
The government alleges in court documents that on Jan. 19 at about 5 a.m., a Border Patrol agent was notified of persons potentially attempting to illegally enter the US near the Green Basin area of West Kootenai by crossing the international boundary from Canada.
The agent further learned that a group of unknown individuals, possibly from six to nine persons, were attempting to cross the border on foot. The agent ultimately stopped a suspected vehicle, an SUV with a Washington license plate, on a Forest Service road.
The government further alleged that an investigation determined Rivera was the driver and Medina was the front passenger. In the back seats were six occupants, who indicated to the agent that they were in the country illegally. All eight persons were transported to the Border Patrol Station in Eureka for processing.
The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The U.S. Border Patrol investigated the case.