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Three Canadian citizens claiming to be ‘free humans’ charged with illegal entry

HOULTON, Maine — U.S. Border Patrol agents charged three Canadian citizens with improper entry by an alien after they allegedly illegally attempted to cross the border May 31 near Houlton from Woodstock, New Brunswick, Canada. 

According to court documents, the agents lodged charges against Jesse Christopher Leblanc, 35, Aaron Byron Cumberland, 27, and Chelsey Fitch, 35, after the three tried to cross the border at a spot that was not designated as a port of entry.

Border Patrol Agent Matthew McLellan said that he was notified after the three were seen carrying backpacks on the Canadian side of the border on a road parallelling the international boundary in Hodgdon. A short time later, at about 4 p.m., he received another call that the three were on the Lincoln Road in the U.S., a route that takes travelers away from the Canadian border.

McLellan said that about an hour later he located the three people matching the descriptions he’d received on Hillview Avenue in Houlton. All claimed to be sovereign citizens with “no claimed countries of citizenship.”

“They also claimed to not believe in or recognize international borders or boundaries but believe that travel between countries should be free and uninhibited,” McLellan wrote in an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Bangor.

All three suspects at first presented fictitious names, he wrote, and record checks showed that none of the three had any recent crossings. They all then were taken to the Houlton Border Patrol station.

There, agents determined that Cumberland had applied in 2014 for admission into the United States as a recreational therapist, but did not meet the allowable requirements under the North American Free Trade Agreement and later withdrew the application, according to an affidavit. Cumberland also claimed to have worked on cruise ships in the U.S.

McLellan added that fingerprinting showed that Cumberland had pending charges against him in Nova Scotia on charges of luring a child and invitation to sexual touching. Under the terms of his release, he was not allowed to possess a cell phone, pager or electronic device, but had a cellphone and laptop in his possession when taken into custody by the Border Patrol.

LeBlanc and Fitch had no criminal histories, according to the complaint.

Fitch later admitted after being read a Miranda warning that she had walked across the border without being processed by an agent and said that she did not cross through a port of entry because she was exercising her right as a “free human.”

The charges against the three are misdemeanors and punishable by up to 180 days in jail, a $5,000 fine or both, along with five years of probation.

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