The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency says New York State Police have arrested a Haitian traveler after CBP officers at the Champlain Port of Entry in upstate New York discovered child pornography on his cell phone.
CBP said on Friday that its officers “encountered” Benz K. Benoit, 36, on Feb. 28.
“The subject was in the custody of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), and returned to Champlain Port of Entry after failing to enter Canada,” CBP said in a statement.
“CBSA officers indicated that Benoit was possibly in possession of child pornography,” it added. “During a secondary inspection of the subject by CBP officers, digital images of possible child pornography were discovered on his cell phone.”
CBP said its officers initially detained Benoit for an immigration violation, “and later committed to the Clinton County Jail on an immigration detainer, pending further investigation by the New York State Police.”
CBP said its officers coordinate with local and US federal agencies “to apprehend perpetrators, such as child predators.”
“We continue to work closely with all law enforcement agencies to ensure the safety of the community,” said Acting Port Director Cary Frieling. “These partnerships are essential in combating illegal activity such as the exploitation of children.
“Our officers are committed to securing the border and are dedicated to identifying criminal activity, especially when it involves the victimization of children,” he added.
CBP said Benoit was charged on Thursday with one count of Promoting An Obscene Sexual Performance By A Child, a Class D Felony, and one count of Possessing An Obscene Sexual Performance By A Child, a Class E Felony.
Benoit was arraigned in Champlain Town Court and remanded to the Clinton County Jail in lieu of US$10,000 cash bail, or US$20,000 bond, CBP said.