Judge sends Canadian to US prison for risky tunnel scheme

In this July 30, 2018 photo provided by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit Juan Garcia-Jimenez right exchanges money at Caesars casino in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, before taking two men to an international railroad tunnel under the Detroit River. Garcia-Jimenez was sentenced to 16 months in prison Monday, April, 15, 2019, for helping immigrants try to illegally enter the U.S. The tunnel is used by cargo trains moving between Ontario, Canada, and the U.S. (U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit via AP)

DETROIT — 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 1.6-mile (2.5-kilometer) tunnel is used by cargo trains moving between Ontario, Canada, and the United States. Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Fairchild said it's risky: A walkway is only 17 inches (43.1 centimeters) wide and in poor condition.

"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 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."

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.

___

Follow Ed White at http://twitter.com/edwhiteap

Must Read

Text of the apology from US swimmer Ryan Lochte

Aug 19, 2016

Text of the apology US swimmer Ryan Lochte posted to his Instagram account

Image of Asia: Protesting killings of civilians in Kashmir

Aug 22, 2016

Image of Asia: Neighbors and relatives of a man killed by a tear gas shell shout anti-India slogans...

Liz Weston: Secrets of next-door millionaires

Aug 22, 2016

Next-door millionaires aren't born into money; they earn it over time

Speedo USA, 3 other sponsors drop Lochte after Rio incident

Aug 22, 2016

Ryan Lochte loses four major sponsors over a drunken incident during the Rio Olympics that he...

Olympic champions Raisman, Hernandez feted by hometowns

Aug 28, 2016

Thousands of people have welcomed medal-winning Olympic gymnasts Aly Raisman and Laurie Hernandez...

Weather, 20 December
Houston Weather
+7

High: +11° Low: -2°

Humidity: 83%

Wind: NNE - 7 KPH

Canberra Weather
+27

High: +27° Low: +17°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: W - 20 KPH

Roissy-en-France Weather
+6

High: +6° Low: -5°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: ENE - 7 KPH

Florence Weather
+9

High: +9° Low: +6°

Humidity: 97%

Wind: ENE - 17 KPH

Parga Weather
+7

High: +16° Low: +4°

Humidity: 100%

Wind: SE - 25 KPH