19 suspected illegal aliens arrested disembarking at BWI

INS says number in group shows rise in smuggling

April 01, 1999|By Greg Garland | Greg Garland,SUN STAFF

Federal agents arrested 19 suspected illegal Mexican immigrants at Baltimore-Washington International Airport yesterday as they got off a US Airways flight from Pittsburgh, where the group had flown earlier in the day from Phoenix.

Benedict J. Ferro, district director of the Immigration and Naturalization Services office in Baltimore, said illegal aliens occasionally fly into BWI, but yesterday's incident was unusual because of the size of the group.

"It just shows the escalation in smuggling [illegal aliens] when you can send large groups by way of commercial airlines from the southwest border into Baltimore," Ferro said. "In the past, it was a small number or one at a time."

INS officials said those detained were ages 15 to 27 and included three females. They were to have been held last night at Wicomico County Detention Center.

Most had been in the United States about a month and had flown north to find jobs in the Baltimore-Washington area, the officials said.

Those detained agreed to return to Mexico voluntarily and will be sent back within the next few days, INS officials said. They said the agency is continuing its investigation.

The BWI arrests came a little more than a week after INS officials picked up 46 suspected illegal immigrants from Mexico and Indonesia as they finished a midnight shift at Chestertown Foods Inc., an Eastern Shore poultry processing plant.

Pub Date: 4/01/99

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