PEMBINA COUNTY, ND — A Georgia man has been sentenced to 18 years in prison after being found guilty of secretly smuggling illegal immigrants across the Canadian border in North Dakota.
According to court documents obtained by Channel 2 Action News, the Pembina County Sheriff’s Office in Pembina, North Dakota, received reports of an emergency call from a motorist at 3:34 a.m. on Nov. 17
When officers arrived, they found 39-year-old Ernesto Falcon Jr. and 38-year-old Rodolfo Arzola-Carrillo, both from Tifton, Georgia, who told them their vehicle was stuck in a ditch and they walked down the ditch along the way your family.
[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]
Officers found that Falcon and the eight people he was with were wearing heavy winter clothing and appeared to be prepared for the weather conditions, leading them to believe they were smuggling someone or something into the United States.
All nine people were taken to the sheriff’s office after asking police to help them find a hotel for the night.
According to court documents, seven people admitted to a border guard that they were in the United States illegally. Only Falcon and Arzola-Carrillo admitted to being US citizens.
Falcon told agents that they helped the seven illegal immigrants get to the United States from Canada by entering Canada from the US side of the border and guiding them back through security.
Court filings say Falcon was approached by Arzola-Carrillo while employed by Arzola Construction in Georgia and asked Falcon about the opportunity to “do some extra work” by helping smuggle people, primarily to help his family members to the USA
According to officials, Falcon and Arzola-Carrillo made four trips in September 2022 and October 2022 before being caught on their fifth trip in November 2022.
[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]
Falcon added that he was paid $500 to $1,000 for each item smuggled in.
On Wednesday, Arzola-Carrillo was found guilty of conspiring to transport illegal aliens and sentenced to 18 months in prison.
According to court documents, Falcon will be sentenced in August.
IN OTHER NEWS:
This browser does not support the video element.