Canada police charge woman with smuggling refugees from US

Miranda GreerApr 23, 2017

Regina woman charged with human smuggling after investigation into asylum seekers crossing into Sask. They have filed refugee claims and are living in Canada while they wait for their claims to be decided, police said.

The incident is part of Project Fadduce, a four-month, ongoing investigation involving the RCMP Integrated Border Enforcement Team, Canada Border Services Agency, United States Customs and Border Protection - Office of the Border Patrol and Office of Field Operations, and Homeland Security Investigations.

Court documents show that Victor Omoruyi, who is a Canadian citizen, was arrested April 14 after an SUV was stopped south of the North Dakota-Saskatchewan border.

US officials say three more people have been arrested in connection with a human smuggling investigation that had already led to charges against a Saskatchewan woman.

Jason Evert, with the Canada Border Services Agency, said during a news conference on Wednesday that investigators uncovered evidence suggesting human smugglers were facilitating illegal border crossings in the area.

Several people in the USA have also been arrested by U.S. Border Patrol agents in connection with the case.

"They're conducting a parallel investigation on the south side of the border. At this time, we're doing the same thing", said Fisher.

The nine people were the first intercepted in connection with alleged human smuggling, the RCMP said on Wednesday.

"So although it's organized, it's not necessarily something that's occurring on a daily or a weekly basis".

The nine migrants have now applied for refugee status in Canada and must wait until their claims are processed to know whether they will be allowed to remain in the country.

In total, 644 were picked up in Quebec in March, 170 in Manitoba and 71 in B.C. Alberta and New Brunswick both recorded one border crossing each.

Others have had Canada in their sights all along as their destination, obtaining U-S visas exclusively for the objective of coming here. All of the asylum seekers are from West Africa but police would not give their nationalities, genders or ages.

"To avoid the Safe Third Country (agreement), you just need to present yourself at some point other than the port of entry", she said.

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