GREAT FALLS- Five people appeared in court today on immigration-related charges according to the Department of Justice.
The five people are citizens of Mexico who were arrested by law enforcement on November 17 in Glacier County.
According to the DOJ, court documents filed in the case said that law enforcement received information about a suspicious room rental activity at a hotel in Cut Bank in October.
The information said that the activity was by several Mexican nationals over roughly the last six months.
The investigation led Border Patrol to believe that a group of aliens was coming into the country illegally from Canada.
On the night of November 17, two SUVs were stopped, one being driven by Omero Banderas-Rodriguez with nine passengers.
When the second SUV was stopped, all of the people in the car got out and ran to a nearby field.
Eight people were found in the field by agents, one being Josue Bermudez Lopez, another being Ma Mercedes Rivera-Gutierrez.
Alberto Guillen-Gordillo was arrested at a hotel room where the subjects were staying.
According to the Department of Justice, the five people who appeared in court are a part of nineteen citizens who were picked up and transported to the Sweetgrass Border Patrol Station for processing.
Four of the defendants, Alberto Guillen-Gordillo, 22, Omero Banderas-Rodriguez, 39, Josue Bermudez-Lopez, 26, and Samuel Velasco-Tovar, 28, all had initial appearances, the DOJ release saying the complaint charges the four with illegal transport of aliens and with conspiracy to transport aliens.
The DOJ says that if convicted, they could face up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.
According to the DOJ, the fifth defendant, Ma Mercedes Rivera-Gutierrez, 39, had an initial appearance on a criminal complaint charging her with illegal reentry.
If convicted Rivera-Gutierrez faces up to two years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.
The DOJ says all five defendants were detained pending further proceedings.