16 months in prison for cab driver who smuggled people via Windsor rail tunnel

The Canadian man who was charged for smuggling immigrants to the U.S. using the Windsor rail tunnel to Detroit has been sentenced.

The 53-year-old has been sentenced to 16 months in U.S. prison

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

A Canadian cab driver has been sentenced to 16 months in a U.S. prison for sending immigrants through a risky international tunnel under the Detroit River.

Juan Garcia-Jimenez, 53, wept and apologized Monday in federal court in Detroit, Mich. 

Besides prison, he was fined $8,680, which is the amount of money paid by nine people who were caught last year when they emerged on foot on the Detroit side of a railroad tunnel.

The 2.5-kilometre (1.6-mile) tunnel is used by cargo trains moving between Ontario and Michigan.

Five people are accused of illegally crossing into Detroit

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

U.S. prosecutor Susan Fairchild said it's extremely risky — the walkway in the tunnel is only 43.1 centimetres (17 inches) wide.

Garcia-Jimenez would drop people off at the tunnel entrance and then drive away.

In March 2018, the U.S. Attorney's Office said Garcia-Jimenez was allegedly paid $1,500 US by a Mexican worker for help walking through the rail tunnel.

The worker, who was employed by a Leamington farm, was caught by the United States Customs and Border Protection Agents after entering the U.S.

With files from The Canadian Press and CBC News