Immigrant Released By Biden Administration Charged With Smuggling

Swanton Sector Border Patrol agents have made a significant arrest in Vermont, taking into custody a Colombian immigrant suspected of smuggling a group of Mexican migrants across the Canadian border.

The Colombian migrant had originally entered the United States illegally in Texas slightly over a year ago, and had been released on immigration parole by the Biden administration.

Chief Patrol Agent Robert Garcia emphasized the broader implications of border security, stating, “What’s happening along our southern border affects our northern border as well. Border security is national security.”

This statement is in response to an incident where a Border Patrol Station agent from Beecher Falls, Vermont, who was patrolling the Canadian border, observed a Honda Accord acting suspiciously in an area notorious for human smuggling activities.

The agent promptly relayed the vehicle’s description over the radio, and another agent located the same vehicle approximately 11 miles away. The driver of the Honda Accord attempted to conceal their face as they drove by, and the agent noticed three additional passengers in the back seat with no one in the front passenger seat.

This raised suspicions, leading to a vehicle stop for an immigration interview. The driver was identified as 28-year-old David Henao-Palacio, a Colombian citizen, who presented a New Jersey driver’s license. As the agent attempted to interview the rear-seat passengers, two men and one woman, the driver instructed them not to speak.

The passengers displayed nervous behavior, as detailed in the criminal complaint. Subsequently, the agent removed the driver and passengers, seating them alongside the roadway. As he verified their status with Swanton Sector dispatch, the three passengers fled into the nearby woods.
Henao-Palacio was placed in handcuffs and handed over to another agent who arrived on the scene. The agent initiated a search for the fleeing passengers, and eventually, all three were successfully apprehended. Documents found in their possession confirmed their identity as Mexican nationals who had crossed the border from Canada into Vermont illegally.

Further investigation revealed that Henao-Palacio had entered the United States by illegally crossing the border from Mexico near Hidalgo, Texas, on August 31, 2022, as detailed in the criminal complaint.

Henao-Palacio admitted that an individual had contracted him to transport the three passengers, promising him $500 for each person to be brought to New Brunswick, New Jersey. As a result of these actions, the Colombian national now faces charges of human smuggling.

If convicted, he may be sentenced to up to five years in federal prison and could also face deportation from the United States. Agents patrolling the Canadian border in eastern New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire apprehended more than 1,000 migrants in the first month of the 2024 fiscal year — a 200% increase compared to October 2022.