Algonac vacation rental home was used to harbor people crossing US-Canada border illegally

Federal officials focus on southern end of Saint Clair River

ALGONAC, Mich. – A rental home in Algonac was being used to harbor people who were crossing the U.S.-Canada border illegally, according to federal officials.

Algonac is a town along the Saint Clair River, a 40-mile-long river that is part of the U.S.-Canada border. Algonac is mostly known for fishing, boating and vacation rentals.

A man staying in one of those vacation rentals caught the attention of federal agents. Officials said they watched the house for several days as different people left the home by car.

During the early-morning hours on Jan. 10, 2023, agents watched as a boat quietly crossed the river and pulled up to the rental house.

They believe the vacation home was being used as a smuggling point. They said the people coming in and out of the home were also coming in and out of the country through illegal border crossings.

Darnell Alonzo Gordon is now facing charges of transporting and harboring illegal aliens. The U.S. Border Patrol said Gordon has been linked to transporting and harboring people who cross the border illegally in the past. He could face fines, jail time or both.

The owner of the rental property told Local 4 that the house has been in his family for decades. He said he had no idea it was being used to harbor people who illegally entered the country.

Illegal border crossings along northern border on the rise

The number of people arrested for illegally crossing from Canada into the United States along its northern border is on the rise.

More than 92,000 people were arrested trying to enter the country in 2022. That number triples the number of people arrested trying to unlawfully enter the country the previous two years.

In 2021, there were 24,895 arrested trying to cross the northern border. In 2020, there were 29,499 arrested trying to cross the northern border.

So far in 2023, the number of people arrested trying to enter the country illegally through the northern border has reached 34,884. Federal officials said they’re keeping a close eye on the southern end of the Saint Clair River.

They said that area of the river has become a frequent travel route for people entering the country illegally who aren’t able to cross the river without help.

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About the Authors:

Karen Drew is the anchor of Local 4 News First at 4, weekdays at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. She is also an award-winning investigative reporter.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.