Danbury

Danbury Woman Accused of Trying to Illegally Transport Migrants, 1 of Whom Dies

NECN/Jack Thurston

A Danbury woman has pleaded not guilty to illegally transporting three migrants, one of which died in Vermont on Sunday.

The District of Vermont U.S. Attorney's Office said 31-year-old Maria Constante-Zamora appeared in court on a criminal complaint charging her with unlawfully trying to transport three people while knowing they had come to the country illegally.

Authorities said the U.S. Border Patrol captured photos of three people walking from Canada into the U.S. in Derby, Vermont. According to documents, officers then pulled over a car in the area.

Border patrol agents said they saw the car, with Connecticut license plates, slow to a stop in the location where the three people would have been likely to exit the woods.

Officers identified Constante-Zamora as the passenger in the vehicle. She's an Ecuadoran national living in Danbury, according to authorities.

Agents saw the three migrants standing on the side of the road. One of them was clutching a tree and ultimately collapsed, officials said. The other two people fled back into the woods toward Canada.

Responding officers helped the person who collapsed. They were taken to a nearby hospital and later died the next morning. A cause of death has not yet been determined.

District officials said they caught up to one of the migrants and detained them.

Constante-Zamora remains in U.S. Marshals Service custody at this time. She faces up to five years in prison if convicted.

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