RUMFORD — Two traffic stops, seven arrests.

Rumford police on Thursday said a pair of unrelated stops within town limits led them to seven people, most of them from Brazil, believed to be in the country illegally.

Two of those arrested are teenagers.

On Thursday morning, while conducting focused highway safety patrols, Rumford police stopped a white van with Pennsylvania registration for a traffic violation on Route 2 near Sunnyside Terrace.

During the stop, police said, officers encountered five men in the van who appeared to be foreign nationals with questionable legal status. U.S. Border Patrol was notified and agents responded to assist with communicating with the men and to investigate their legal status in the country.

Police said the agents determined that four of the five men had entered the United States illegally and were immediately taken into federal custody by agents.


Those arrested were Nelson Fernandes-Mendes, 22, of Portugal; and Felipe Costa-Silva, 29, Elionai Agostini, 23, and Jose Martins-Mamaral, 47, all of Brazil.

A few hours later, police said while officers continued their patrol along Route 2, another vehicle with Pennsylvania registration was stopped for a traffic violation on Route 2 about ½ mile west of McDonald’s restaurant.

“During this stop, officers encountered three foreign nationals in the vehicle who indicated they could not speak English,” Rumford police Chief Tony Milligan wrote in a press release. “Officers again requested assistance from U.S. Border Patrol agents who were still nearby to help with the traffic stop and communications. USBP Agents determined that the occupants were Brazilian nationals and had also entered the United States illegally.”

Taken into custody following that stop were Joelton Silvestre-Costa, 25, a 17-year-old female and a 14-year-old male, each from Brazil.

“We are committed to making our highways and local streets safer for our residents and visitors by continuing to have focused patrols to enforce speed and other traffic laws,” Milligan wrote. “Our partnership with the United States Border Patrol has taught us what to look for during encounters with foreign nationals and when it is appropriate to call for assistance when legal status is questionable or when there is a language barrier.”

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