Three Costa Rican men and a 4-year-old girl were caught crossing the International Railroad Bridge between Fort Erie, Ont., and Buffalo Saturday night as they attempted to enter the U.S. illegally.
It was the latest in an increasing number of incidents in which illegal immigrants are stopped as they try to sneak across the border. More than 50 have been arrested since October, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service officials report.
The Costa Ricans, ages 22, 34, and 35, were charged with illegal entry. Charged with alien smuggling was a fourth man, age 42, a Guatemalan citizen and Canadian resident, who was waiting for them on Niagara Street. All are being held in the Niagara County Jail pending arraignment in federal court Tuesday.
The girl was released to the care of her grandmother in the United States, who was accused of violating her immigration status.
"(The Costa Rican men and the girl) walked across the bridge and were detected by Border Patrol agents," said Don Palacios, assistant chief for the Buffalo sector of the U.S. Border Patrol. "That area has been monitored 24 hours a day for the last few weeks."
Palacios said names of those arrested will not be released until after Tuesday's arraignment.
Earlier last week, a naturalized Canadian man led authorities on a wild chase along the tops of cars on a moving freight train that was crossing from Niagara Falls, Ont. He eventually was captured and appeared in federal court in Buffalo Friday on a charge of illegally entering the United States.
"It was something out of an old western movie," said Greg Mish, a Border Patrol spokesman.