Maine police fire upon Rhode Island man driving truck suspected of carrying explosives near Canadian border

May 31, 2023
Ben Marquis

When most Americans think about border security, they tend to think about the southern border with Mexico and seemingly forget that the United States also shares an expansive northern border with Canada, where security incidents do occasionally occur.

One such incident happened on Monday when Maine State Police fired upon and apprehended a man driving a truck toward the border with Canada that was believed to be carrying explosives, the Daily Caller reported.

Nobody was injured and it turned out that there were no explosives on the truck, but the driver of that vehicle is nonetheless facing a slew of criminal charges over what transpired.

Shots fired at truck suspected of carrying explosives

According to local ABC affiliate WMTW, a Maine state trooper attempted to pull over a truck headed north on I-95 shortly after 10:30 am but the driver refused to stop and instead continued toward the port of entry near the town of Houlton on the Canadian-U.S. border.

According to the State Police, "the trooper observed a sign indicating that the operator had an explosive device on board," though it was unclear what sort of sign the trooper had seen or what it may have said to give the trooper such an indication.

The driver of the truck did briefly stop at the border but ignored orders from police to exit the vehicle and instead began to attempt to proceed through the border checkpoint into Canada.

That is when State Corporal Eric Paquette opened fire on the driver, who was identified as Tony Holford, 42, of Providence, Rhode Island. Holford was not injured in the shooting but decided at that time to surrender to the police as ordered.

WMTW reported that Maine authorities, including a bomb squad and crime scene technicians, worked in conjunction with Canadian authorities to investigate the incident.

Meanwhile, the port of entry in Houlton was temporarily shut down while the preliminary investigation commenced but was reopened later Monday night.

No explosives found, but criminal charges still filed

According to CNN, it was ultimately discovered that there was not a bomb in Holford's truck, though he is still facing serious criminal charges.

Shannon Moss, a spokesperson for the Maine Department of Public Safety said in a statement to the news outlet, "Investigators have confirmed that Tony Holford did not have explosives in his vehicle

He made a virtual appearance in court on Wednesday while being held in the Aroostook County Jail, and told the court, "I never had any dangerous weapon on me at all, there was never no bomb or nothing," and added, "It was all just a lie for attention because I needed help."

Per CNN, Holford has been hit with a number of charges that include "criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, passing a roadblock, and operating a vehicle without a license," among others.

He was not required to enter a plea during that initial hearing but likely will when he next appears in court for an arraignment on September 5, and his bail was set at $1,000.

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