Federal immigration officials apprehended six illegal aliens in Rangeley on May 9 and placed all six into administrative procedures for removal from the country, an official from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) confirmed.
The arrest of the foreign nationals followed an apparent health emergency at the ReEnergy Stratton biomass facility involving the employee of a Massachusetts-based contractor.
Franklin County Sheriff Scott Nichols confirmed that his deputies assisted in the medical emergency at ReEnergy Stratton.
“A Hispanic worker there passed out at the worksite, one of our Deputies responded and assisted EMS as needed. We did notify Border Patrol of the incident,” Nichols said.
“That was the extent of our involvement,” he said.
CBP was not involved in the medical call but witnessed one of the work trucks as it drove through Rangeley, 19 miles south of the facility, shortly after the medical call.
Six subjects were apprehended without incident and placed in removal proceedings.
The individuals were working for Helfrich Brothers Boiler Works, a Lawrence, Mass.-based company.
Helfrich Brothers Boiler Works did not respond to multiple requests for an interview.
Further information about the six individuals, including country of origin, was not immediately available.
The status of the individual transported to Franklin Memorial is unknown.
Earlier this year, CBP and Lisbon Police apprehended 17 foreign nationals present in the U.S. illegally and placed them into deportation procedures.
Those individuals were also thought to be working for a contractor based in Massachusetts.
Before that, CBP worked with the Knox County Sheriff’s Department and the Rockland Police Department to apprehend seven foreign nationals at the Home Depot location in Rockland.
CBP determined six of those subjects were in the country illegally and they were scheduled for administrative removal.
Re-Energy operates biomass facilities which produce electricity that meets Maine’s Renewable Portfolio Standards.
Due to ongoing maintenance projects at the facility, the plant has had contractors onsite performing work, many from out-of-state.
A source who heard second-hand about the health care emergency in Stratton said the 22-year-old employee from Helfrich passed out on the job and required CPR.
The individual was transported by ambulance to Franklin Memorial Hospital.
During the emergency, and despite a language barrier, ReEnergy management determined that the contracted employees had been working long hours with little rest.
“We expect our contractors to be fully compliant with all regulations and laws and we are monitoring the situation,” said ReEnergy Holdings LLC’s Vice President of External Affairs Sarah Boggess.
She declined to comment on the events that unfolded at the Stratford facility.
Only U.S. citizens, documented legal permanent residents, and individuals with valid work visas are allowed to work legally in the United States.
It is against federal law for any person or corporation to knowingly hire an individual who is not authorized to work legally in the U.S.