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Charges dropped against Guatemalan man who said he was targeted by border patrol in Bangor

Border patrol agents acknowledged they were suspicious of the family because they spoke Spanish and appeared to be of "Central American origin."
Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Border patrol agent searches car on March 30, 2019 in Houlton

PORTLAND, Maine — Federal prosecutors have dismissed a felony charge against a Guatemalan man whose attorney contends Border Patrol agents targeted him through racial profiling.

The Border Patrol acknowledged in a court document that suspicions about several members of a family, including 31-year-old Mateo Carmelo-Bartolo, were aroused because they appeared to be of "Central-American origin" and because they spoke Spanish while shopping in Bangor.

RELATED: Border Patrol agent accused of ‘textbook racial profiling’

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A prosecutor wrote that pursuing a charge of re-entering the U.S. after deportation was not "in the interest of justice." The charge against Carmelo-Bartolo was formally dropped Monday.

Defense lawyer Ron Bourget called it a "good decision" and said that it's wrong to target people based on skin color or language. He said it's not the end of the road for Carmelo-Bartolo. He faces further proceedings in immigration court in Boston.

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