Judge sends Canadian to US prison for risky tunnel scheme

The Canadian cab driver would drive desperate immigrants to a railroad tunnel under the Detroit River

A Canadian cab driver who made extra money by steering desperate immigrants to a railroad tunnel under the Detroit River was sentenced Monday to 16 months in a U.S. prison.

Juan Garcia-Jimenez, a 53-year-old Canadian citizen who is a native of Guatemala, wept in federal court. Besides a prison sentence, he was fined $8,680— the amount paid by six people who were caught last year when they emerged on foot on the Detroit side of the tunnel.

The 2.5-kilometre tunnel is used by cargo trains moving between Ontario and the United States. Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Fairchild said it’s risky: A walkway is only 43.1 centimetres wide and in poor condition.

READ MORE: Father sues daughter over illicit $450,000 townhouse purchase

“They just walked right through the tunnel, which is a very dangerous thing,” said Kris Grogan, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. “There is zero room. If a train would have come through there they would have been killed.”

Garcia-Jimenez would drop people off at a tunnel entrance in Windsor, Ont., and drive away. Nine people arrested by border officers identified him as the man who helped them leave Canada at different times last year.

“Due to the clandestine nature of this criminal activity, there is no way to be certain how many times he has smuggled aliens into the United States in the past,” Fairchild said in a court filing. “Countless aliens could have illegally entered the United States with his assistance.”

READ MORE: Moose on the loose leads Newfoundland police to stolen vehicle

Garcia-Jimenez was arrested last August while trying to enter Detroit to celebrate his wedding anniversary.

“I am sorry for what I have done,” he told U.S. District Judge Stephen Murphy III.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Rollover crash in South Surrey

One person airlifted following incident near 40 Avenue and 160 Street

‘You don’t want to miss’ the fresh fruit, vegetables at upcoming Cloverdale Market Days

First-of-the-season corn, microgreens, honey, freshly baked goods and much more

PHOTOS: Beach day in White Rock

Summer heat brings locals and tourists to the beach

Another 250 units proposed for booming block in Clayton neighbourhood

New developments join list of projects popping up near new Salish Secondary, future community centre

PHOTOS: High-flying fun at 2019 Boundary Bay Airshow

Thousands came out for the free annual event on Saturday, July 20

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

Hazmat incident closes down Lower Mainland street

One person is believed to be dead, police said

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

Family of missing B.C. senior with dementia frustrated with situation, heartened by community support

Nine days since Grace was last seen the question remains: ‘How can an 86-year-old just disappear?’

Unsealed record suggests U.S. man convicted of murdering Vancouver Island couple left DNA on zip tie in 1987

William Talbott is set to be sentenced Wednesday in the murders of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges gender-exclusive haircut policy

Haircut regulation inspires challenge around gender identity

Pride flags stolen from Lower Mainland church

Went missing sometime Friday night, says Maple Ridge reverend

25 new wheelchair-accessible cabins open at Cultus Lake Provincial Park

Maple Bay Campground is now home to 25 new wheelchair friendly cabins, a first for BC Parks

Most Read