A Honduran man arrested in a controversial traffic stop and convicted of being in the U.S. illegally is appealing.

The attorney for Mario Ernesto Garcia-Zavala filed papers Monday to launch the appeal from U.S. District Court in Maine to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Garcia-Zavala was arrested in Portland on Sept. 9, 2017, after the van he was in was stopped on Interstate 295 by a Maine State Police trooper.

His lawyer, Robert Andrews, argued that the state trooper stopped the van due to racial profiling and then subjected those in the van to unlawful detention by keeping the vehicle pulled over until agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement could arrive. Dashboard video of the stop suggested the trooper was more interested in the passengers’ immigration status than traffic violations, Andrews had argued.

But a federal judge disagreed and found Garcia-Zavala guilty of being in the U.S. following a removal or deportation.

U.S. District Judge George Singal sentenced Garcia-Zavala to time served and ordered him turned over the ICE, which will likely move to have him deported again.

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.