Windsor

Court docs show how 5 people were smuggled to Detroit through active rail in Windsor

A Windsor immigration lawyer says he's never heard of someone using the active, underground rail line that connects Windsor to Detroit to smuggle people into the United States.

Canadian man accused of helping five people cross illegally into the United States

CP Rail operates an active underground rail line that connects Windsor and Detroit. (Katerina Georgiva/CBC)

U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested five people after they allegedly used the CP Rail tunnel to illegally cross into Detroit from Windsor in March and July this year.

A sixth person, a Canadian man, was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly helping those five use an active rail tunnel connecting the two cities.

Windsor immigration lawyer Eddie Kadri said he's never heard of someone using that rail line to smuggle people into the United States. 

"This is the first I've heard of this particular passage used for passing," said Kadri. 

"Human smuggling is a big problem, we've seen it before — this is peculiar in that it's not just illegal but the type of smuggling is incredible dangerous to the lives of the people."

The active rail is located between the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel and the Ambassador Bridge. 0:33

Court docs: poorly-drawn map

CBC News obtained a copy of the criminal complaint filed against Juan Antonio Garcia-Jimenez that is shedding new light onto the crossings. 

The people who Garcia-Jimenez allegedly helped cross the tunnel were working at farms in Leamington when they left Windsor. 

Court documents say two people who crossed through the tunnel just after midnight on July 14 were handed a "poorly-drawn map of the tunnel entrance and a list of street names near the Greyhound bus station in Detroit." 

Another pair who crossed on July 30 waited for three hours near the entrance of the tunnel, waiting for a train to enter the U.S., according to the criminal complaint. 

Windsor immigration lawyer Eddie Kadri said this case shows the lengths people will go to cross into the United States and exploit those who are vulnerable. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC)

Warnings of cameras, sensors

Eventually, Garcia-Jimenez "stated that the train was probably not going to come and the subjects needed to begin their walk through the tunnel."

All four of the people paid Garcia-Jimenez $1,500 US for his help, they told border patrol agents. 

The person who crossed alone in March was told "he need to wait for the train so that the cameras would not notice him and the sensors would not activate," according to the documents. 

CP Rail declined to comment on the level of security at the rail crossings.

'Report suspicious activity'

"Human smuggling has been a problem in this area a long time," said Kadri, who was not able to provide numbers to quantify the problem. 

"It's a short boat ride right across, between our two countries so the public has to be vigilante and I urge every body to report suspicious activity."

Garcia-Jimenez will appear in court on Friday for a bond hearing. 

About the Author

Chris Ensing

CBC News

Chris Ensing is a Video Journalist for CBC Windsor.