5 arrested in Michigan after human smuggling attempts on jet ski from Canada

Posted at 8:10 PM, Aug 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-24 20:19:43-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Four people have been arrested after they allegedly entered the country illegally by crossing the St. Clair River from Canada.

A fifth person has also been apprehended in Port Huron for playing a role in the human smuggling incident that took place over the weekend.

A five-page court affidavit filed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection tells all about the incident.

On Aug. 20 around 3 p.m., the U.S. air patrol spotted three individuals departing on a Jet ski from the Sarina Bay Marina in Ontario.

Fifteen minutes later, the jet ski landed at Lake Huron Krafft Road Beach in Port Huron.

Two individuals took off on foot while the jet ski returned to Canada.

Monitoring the situation, Border Patrol agents saw the duo entering a vehicle that was later stopped by officers. The driver was identified as a 39-year-old male U.S. citizen. The two male passengers were identified as Brazilian nationals, ages 34 and 35 who both admitted to illegally crossing into the U.S.

Meanwhile, a short time later, the jet ski returned, dropping off two more individuals.

This time, agents apprehend a 47-year-old male and a 44-year-old female. That duo also admitted they were Brazilian nationals and entered the country illegally.

Jorge Chinea, a history professor at Wayne State University, says more illegal immigrants from Brazil have started to cross from Canada due to liberal immigration policies there and also because Mexican authorities cracking down on foreigners.

"The challenge for them is basically the cost, they will have to line up some sort of international smuggler that would enable them to navigate different routes into the United States and the other one is to find places they can blend in," Chinea said.

According to the affidavit, the U.S. driver was paid $1,000 per person by a Canadian smuggler to transport all four Brazilians to New York.

"In the United States, Brazilians don’t have a high rate of naturalization. We don’t know why. It could be they don’t want to be citizens, they want to go back at some point in their life or it could be that their status at some point was irregular, and coming forward now is too dangerous," Chinea said.

Now, all five are facing federal charges. The driver has been charged with unlawful transportation. The four Brazilians have been charged with illegal entry into the United States.