April 1, 2020

Egg farm worker had been deported twice in 2018.


PORTLAND — In what may be a first for Maine’s federal court, a Mexican man living in Turner was sentenced Wednesday by conference call for returning to this country illegally after being deported twice.

Josue Calvo-Burguet, 37, participated in his sentencing by telephone from the Cumberland County Jail in Portland, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Hill.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and for health and safety reasons, telephonic sentencings were recently permitted by the U.S. Congress as part of the CARES Act. On Tuesday, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine entered a general order permitting such telephonic proceedings.

Chief U.S. District Court Judge Jon D. Levy sentenced Calvo-Burguet to roughly three months, the time he has been in jail since his arrest Jan. 7. He pleaded guilty Feb. 18 of being found in the United States after removal, a Class E felony is punishable by up to two years in prison.

Immigration records showed he had been removed from the United States in March and July 2018.

Hill said Immigration and Customs Enforcement is expected to take custody of Calvo-Burguet and he likely will be removed to Mexico in about a week.

In an affidavit, a federal agent wrote that he conducted surveillance of a home on Snell Hill Road in Turner while investigating allegations brought by a “concerned citizen” that undocumented immigrants had been living in the home and working at Quality Egg LLC, an egg farm in Turner.

During his surveillance, the agent wrote, he watched a passenger van ferry men from the home to the egg farm using back roads, not the most direct route, during hours of the farm’s operation.

The egg farm had a long history of employing undocumented immigrants, according to agent Nicholas Gurney’s affidavit.

According to court records, U.S. Border Patrol agents stopped a van in Turner, and passenger Calvo-Burguet told them he was in the United States illegally. He was arrested and taken to the Rangeley Border Patrol Station for processing.

Gurney wrote that, in July 2019, agents in Rangeley had pulled over the same van containing undocumented immigrants living at the Snell Hill Road home in Turner. The agents determined that the van had been traveling to and from the Turner egg farm, Gurney wrote.