A dozen people fled into the woods this afternoon during a commercial vehicle enforcement check after State Police called in Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents because some of them appeared to be in this country illegally.
However, the supervisor of the State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit in southern Maine decided to recall his troopers from the search once he learned ICE probably would not detain most of the men. Sgt. Stephen Ashcroft said that for safety reasons he did not want his troopers searching through the woods during hunting season if most of the men they sought were going to be released anyway.
The unit was conducting an enforcement check at the Kittery weigh station when they identified a line of Asplundh tree maintenance vehicles with apparent violations. Checking the 13 trucks, they determined that about 10 of the 28 workers being transported in the Chicago-based trucks, bound for utility line maintenance in the Augusta area, appeared to be in the country without permission, Ashcroft said. One of them had a warrant for deportation, he said.
Ashcroft could not say whether ICE would seek to impose any sanctions on Asplundh.