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Women and children found hiding in truck at border returned to U.S., court hears

All 11 people found hiding in the bunk area of a tractor-trailer crossing the border into Windsor were refused entry to Canada and sent back to the U.S., a customs and immigration investigator testified Tuesday.

The trial continued Tuesday for two truckers accused of trying to smuggle three women and eight children from Nigeria across the Ambassador Bridge into Canada.

Paul Ngoue-Ngameleu, 45, and Henadez Makia Mbeh, 52, are each facing three charges under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Their trial, scheduled for five days, began Monday when court heard testimony from eight officers with the Canada Border Services Agency.

The charges involve an attempt to “withhold material facts relating to a relevant matter,” aiding or abetting 11 people to contravene the Act, and “knowingly obstruct or impede an officer in the performance of the officer’s duties” under the Act.

The two men pulled up to a commercial customs booth in a tractor-trailer around 5:35 p.m. on Sept. 21, 2017. Court has heard they were sent to secondary inspection because of an error with the paperwork for their cargo.

Several officers with Canada Border Services Agency have testified that a search of the tractor cab revealed 11 people hiding in the bunk area.

CBSA investigator Joan Manning, who was on call that day, said Tuesday in court she was summoned to investigate two Canadian citizens from Quebec who tried to cross the border without reporting the 11 foreign nationals in their truck.

After interviews, background searches and document checks, all 11 of the foreign nationals were eventually shipped back to the U.S., she said.

The trial, which began Monday, is scheduled for five days.

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