An illegal immigrant, who slipped into the country three months ago, has been arrested outside a Colchester store as part of a botched attempt to smuggle six more illegal immigrants into Vermont. The U.S. Border Patrol arrested Francisco Mendoza, 26, as he prepared to pick up three of the six illegal immigrants in the parking lot of Maplefields, a convenience store on U.S. 2 & 7 in Colchester, just north of the Winooski city line on Oct. 24. Three other Mexicans, who were waiting for a ride to connect with him, were located in Highgate Springs. Mendoza was working for a human smuggling operation that had helped deliver him unlawfully to the United States earlier this summer. Mendoza said it marked the fifth time he had traveled from Columbus, Ohio to Vermont to pick up illegal immigrants crossing into the United States. Mendoza said he was getting paid to drive the illegal immigrants to the New York City area. He said he understood the risks of the illegal conduct, but wanted to help people who wanted to better themselves. Judge Kevin Doyle said Mendoza has a lack of ties to the area. He was taken to the Northwest State Correctional Facility in St. Albans Town.
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