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Sikh News Human Trafficking Ring Caught

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by Archived_Member16, Apr 13, 2006.

  1. Archived_Member16

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    SPNer Thinker

    Jan 7, 2005
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    Human trafficking ring caught
    Nine B.C. residents among those arrested for smuggling more than 60 South Asians into United States
    Jonathan FowlieVancouver Sun
    Thursday, April 13, 2006

    Officials from both sides of the border announced Wednesday they have arrested and filed U.S. indictments against 12 men -- including nine B.C. residents -- who comprised a network that had allegedly been charging about $40,000 per head to smuggle people from India and Pakistan.

    "Our common border, and the two countries, are safer because of the work of law enforcement agencies," said Leigh Winchell, head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigations in Seattle.

    Winchell said two parallel investigations have been running on each side of the border since January 2005, when authorities received a tip about three men in the Oroville, Wash. area (across the border from Osoyoos) who were buying maps and asking about local border enforcement.

    Winchell said investigators followed the ring closely, describing the security issues uncovered as "immense."

    "While we have no information that this has any terrorist ties, the obvious fact that individuals are being smuggled into the U.S. brings forward security issues for both countries," he said.

    Indictments have been filed in Seattle against two other men who have yet to be arrested, authorities said, bringing the total to 14. Police said they believe those two men to be on the run in Canada.

    Winchell, along with RCMP Chief Supt. Bud Mercer, said the people being smuggled ranged in age from as young as six to as old as the early 70s, and that most embarked on the risky trip so they could be reunited with family or friends.

    "The vast majority of these individuals ... are coming here for a better way of life, and for jobs and to reunite with their families," Winchell said, adding that about 10 of them are under the age of 18.

    RCMP Insp. Dan Malo, who lead the Canadian investigative team, added that almost all of the people who were smuggled would only have been able to pay $5,000 to $10,000 up front and would therefore be indebted to the criminal ring after their arrival in the U.S.

    However, he said police found no evidence of sex slavery in the investigation.

    Explaining how the system worked, Mercer said the smugglers would provide their customers with forged documents, which investigators believe were produced overseas.
    The people being smuggled would then fly on direct commercial flights from India and Pakistan to Toronto, where they would meet a designated handler.

    After clearing customs, the people would return the phony documents so they could be used in future smuggling operations, Mercer said.
    He said the people being smuggled would then fly to Vancouver where they would wait in a "safe house" until the time came to sneak into the U.S. through remote areas between crossings.

    Once across the border, most of the people were taken to a hotel in the Seattle area and then flown to their final destinations within the U.S., police said.

    Officials on both side of the border said the operation took close cooperation, and everyone involved called it a model for future cross-border investigations.

    "Throughout the course of the investigation both Canadian and American investigators had full access to each other's intelligence on a daily basis," said Mercer. "This collaboration demonstrates our shared resolve to keep our borders secure while respecting each other's sovereignty."

    Winchell said officials have begun deportation proceedings against all of the people caught sneaking into the U.S., but could not say how long it would be until their cases are resolved.

    Four other people were found in Canada during Tuesday's arrests and will face similar proceedings here, officials said.

    On Wednesday, police gave the names of 11 people they have arrested.

    They said RCMP officers arrested the suspected ringleader of the operation on Tuesday -- a 46-year-old named Kavel Multani. On Wednesday, police said Multani is a dual Canadian and Indian citizen living in Vancouver.

    Also arrested on Tuesday were: Sandip Parhar, 26, of Delta; Armardeep Singh Powar, 23, an Indian citizen living in Vancouver, and Nizar Sabaz-Ali, 38, a Pakistani citizen from North York, Ont.

    Police said they have also arrested: Raman Pathania, 19, of Surrey; Anthony Maclean, 21, of Richmond; Jatinder Brar, 19, of Surrey; Sukveer Sandhu, 18 of Surrey; Matthew Dehagi, 35, of Port Coquitlam; Harjeevan Parhar, 23, of Surrey; and Harminder Singh, 37, of Kent, Wash.


    © The Vancouver Sun 2006
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  3. Arvind

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    SPNer Thinker Supporter

    Jul 13, 2004
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    Such single news is good enough to paint all community with same brush. Very bad.
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