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7 Detained After Immigrant Transport Van Pulled Over

Posted June 21, 2007

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— Police pulled over what they described as an illegal immigrant transport van early Thursday while investigating a report of a kidnapping.

The kidnapping was reported at about 4:40 a.m. near the Interstate 440 Beltline and Capital Boulevard, said Capt. Chris Bertram of the Raleigh Police Department.

Police caught up with the van, described in a 911 call, at the Aviation Parkway exit off Interstate 40, Bertram said. The Wake County Sheriff's Office, the Cary Police Department and the Morrisville Police Department assisted in the stop.

Six adults and one juvenile were in the van, police said. After interviewing all of them, police determined that two men were transporting illegal immigrants to various locations on the East Coast, Bertram said.

When the family members of one of the immigrants had told the men that the family didn't have the money they were supposed to provide for the immigrant's transport, the driver and his assistant wouldn't let him out of the vehicle and drove off, Bertram said. That prompted the kidnapping report, he said.

"I guess if you're in this country illegally, you don't have a whole lot of transportation options. You can't buy a plane ticket or a bus ticket, so you find alternative means. That's these people, who are going to transport you where you want to go for a fairly large sum of money," he said.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents took custody of all of the people in the van. ICE identified one of them as once having been deported as a felon.