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

Rare white ravens spotted again in mid-Island

Nature photographer Mike Yip said mysterious birds back in Coombs area

RCMP evacuate Cowichan detachment due to explosive device

Device disposed of without incident after man brings in discovered explosive

CO’s call off attempts to trap bear who attacked North Island man

Woss man recuperating after incident on remote logging road

Memorial ride set for fallen Vancouver Island mountain biker

Event scheduled for Tuesday evening for the mountain biker who died in the Cumberland trail system

UPDATED: Saanich Police arrest driver after serious hit and run

Motorists advised to avoid area of McKenzie Avenue and Shelbourne Street

Silly Boat Regatta fills Nanaimo harbour with silly sailing

Island Red Cedar Construction wins this year’s race

SLIDESHOW: ‘Lightning’ hits Vancouver Island for annual Sproat Lake regatta

Alberni Valley Regatta Association hosted sixth annual races

SLIDESHOW: Vancouver Islanders gather for classic cars and cool aircraft

Campbell River’s annual Wings & Wheels event held at city’s airport

Canadian is detained in China on drug allegations: Chinese government

Detention of a Canadian in China comes as part a diplomatic dispute triggered by arrest of Huawei exec Meng Wanzhou

Island man narrowly escapes being run down by his own truck

Saanich resident working on his truck on Darwin Avenue, when it started to roll on him

Firefighters keep flames away from evacuated Langford townhouse

Crews respond after brush fire near Walmart jumps to garden shed

Vancouver Island bid to host 2021 national championships falls short

Hockey Canada hasn’t announced successful bid, but has advised it won’t be Nanaimo

Too much time on social media can hurt teens’ mental health: study

Researchers conducted a four-year survey of more than 3,800 adolescents between Grades 7 and 11

Advocates want charges in horse deaths during Calgary Stampede chuckwagon races

Chuckwagon races are a nightly spectacle during the Stampede, a 10-day annual celebration of western life

Most Read