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

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 on Tuesday after two months in United States (US) custody.

Christopher Sagajllo, 56, was arrested in December 2019 after crossing the river in a wetsuit and landing at a steel company’s property on Zug Island, just south of Detroit. US 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,” defence 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 US.

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

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