An Australian woman and her Mexican boyfriend were sentenced to prison for arranging to have him enter the United States illegally near Calais.

Sarah Louise Branch, 37, of New South Wales was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Bangor by Chief Judge Nancy Torresen to 70 days in prison for encouraging and inducing the illegal entry of Benigno Godinez-Cortez into the U.S. on July 10, U.S. Attorney Halsey B. Frank announced Friday.

Godinez-Cortez, 45, of Ahuacuotzingo, Guerrero, Mexico, was sentenced by Torresen to time served (70 days) for unlawfully re-entering the country near Calais. He pleaded guilty on Aug. 14.

Court records show Godinez-Cortez walked into the U.S. on a railroad trestle near Calais on July 10. He was found by U.S. Boarder Patrol agents shortly after he entered the county. He had previously been deported after a 1994 arrest on immigration charges and did not have immigration documents allowing him to enter the U.S., according to court records.

A Mexican passport, male clothing and photographs of Godinez-Cortez were found in Branch’s van when she tried to go through the port of entry in Calais on the same day. She told border patrol agents she knew Godinez-Cortez, her boyfriend, would not be admitted to the U.S., so she dropped him off “somewhere” near the Canada-United States border, according to court records.

Branch confessed that she told Godinez-Cortez she would cross at the nearest port of entry and pick him up after he contacted her by cellphone, according to court records.

The investigation was conducted by Customs and Border Protection.


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