Press-Republican

Local News

September 9, 2013

North Hudson roadblock at risk

(Continued)

Lague said trans-national criminal organizations are involved.

“They are smuggling bodies through the woods. There’s also contraband.”

FASTEST ESCAPE ROUTE

Lague repeated over and over how important he believes the I-87 checkpoint is, while mentioning Jonathan Braun, 27, of Staten Island, who had allegedly brought 110 tons of marijuana into the United States through Akwesasne when he was sought by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in 2010.

Although Braun was apparently using I-87 for his smuggling, he was not apprehended at the North Hudson checkpoint.

Knowing authorities were coming for him, he fled his Long Island residence for his home country of Israel, where he remains, according to news reports.

“A lot of the criminal activity we don’t apprehend slides the fastest way away from the border, which is I-87,” Lague said.

PAST TRAGEDIES

The North Hudson roadblock is one of 30 to 50 checkpoints operated at any given time by the Border Patrol in this district, he said.

Lague admitted the North Hudson stop is controversial.

“Not everyone is in favor of it. It’s about 80 miles away from the border. It’s been legally upheld. Constitutionally, we have the right to do it.”

Insufficient advance signage has been blamed for two serious accidents at the North Hudson checkpoint.

In 2005, an Essex County grand jury declined to indict a Canadian truck driver whose crash at the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in North Hudson killed four people.

Jean Marc Petitclerc, 48, of Quebec, Canada, was initially charged with criminally negligent homicide by State Police after his tractor-trailer plowed into a line of vehicles stopped on Interstate 87 at the checkpoint.

In 2004, Pierre Boulay, 44, of Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec, was cited for failure to slow for a work zone after the charter bus he was driving slammed into vehicles waiting at the checkpoint and injured 54 people. Boulay did not return to answer the traffic citation.

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