Man who swam to US from Canada to deliver books is released

News
JAIL BARS_1534261501019.jpg.jpg

DETROIT (AP) — A man who said he swam across the Detroit River from Canada to try to deliver handmade books before Christmas won his release Tuesday after two months in U.S. custody.

Christopher Sagajllo, 56, was arrested in December after crossing the river in a wetsuit and landing at a steel company’s property on Zug Island, just south of Detroit.

U.S. District Judge Linda Parker sentenced Sagajllo to time served, clearing his return to St. Catherines, Ontario, where the British native is a permanent Canadian resident.

“He is not a dangerous individual,” defense attorney Benton Martin said.

Sagajllo, 56, declined to speak in court. But he explained in a letter why he chose a risky way to get into the U.S.

Sagajllo said he was desperate after being turned away days earlier at the border in Niagara Falls, New York. U.S. authorities said he was ineligible because he had been deported to the United Kingdom in 2010 after overstaying a visit by seven years.

Sagajllo said he had followed his religious faith and made books in silk bags.

“Four of the recipients were in the United States, and I believed they needed to be delivered before Christmas. … I believed I needed to swim across. I felt that if I did not do what was, I believe, required of me, that something terrible would happen to me in the future,” he wrote.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Fairchild said the government had no objection to returning Sagajllo to Canada after weeks in custody.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Special Olympics: Athlete Spotlight

Special Olympics powerlifters get ready for competition

Thumbnail for the video titled "Special Olympics powerlifters get ready for competition"

Special Olympics Cross Country Skiing

Thumbnail for the video titled "Special Olympics Cross Country Skiing"

Special Olympics Basketball

Thumbnail for the video titled "Special Olympics Basketball"

Special Olympics Michigan Area 36 2020 U.P. Winter Games

Thumbnail for the video titled "Special Olympics Michigan Area 36 2020 U.P. Winter Games"

Special Olympics: Downhill Ski

Thumbnail for the video titled "Special Olympics: Downhill Ski"

Special Olympics Figure Skating

Thumbnail for the video titled "Special Olympics Figure Skating"

Polar Plunge for Special Olympics

Thumbnail for the video titled "Polar Plunge for Special Olympics"

Latest News Video

Functional Medicine

Thumbnail for the video titled "Functional Medicine"

Sights & Sounds: 30th annual UP200 Sled Dog Race

Thumbnail for the video titled "Sights & Sounds: 30th annual UP200 Sled Dog Race"

The Fish & Hunt Shop presents Top 3 on Local 3

Thumbnail for the video titled "The Fish & Hunt Shop presents Top 3 on Local 3"

Preparing for UP200

Thumbnail for the video titled "Preparing for UP200"

Dogs checked before UP200

Thumbnail for the video titled "Dogs checked before UP200"

UP200 LIVE (Part 2)

Thumbnail for the video titled "UP200 LIVE (Part 2)"