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Indian man admits smuggling people from his country into US via Canada

A 40-year-old Indian national living in Canada has pleaded guilty to smuggling several Indian nationals from Canada into the US for profit.

Simranjit ‘Shally’ Singh admitted to six counts of alien smuggling and three counts of conspiracy to commit alien smuggling during an appearance in Albany, New York on Friday.

At the request of the US government, Singh was taken into custody on June 28, 2022, in Ontario, Canada.

He was extradited from Canada to the US on March 30 this year, the US Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of New York stated in a release.

From March of 2020 through March of 2021, Singh admitted to facilitating the smuggling of several Indian nationals from Canada into the US, via Cornwall Island and the Akwesasne Mohawk Indian Reservation in the St Lawrence River region.

Back in March, bodies of four Indian and four Romanian migrants were pulled from the St Lawrence River in Akwesasne — some 120 kilometres west of Montreal and a perilous route for smuggling, according to authorities.

Singh’s plea agreement said that he arranged to move people into the US from India by flying them to Calgary, Toronto and Montreal, before transporting them to Cornwall in Ontario. He then moved the Indian nationals by boat across the St Lawrence River through Akwesasne, according to CBC News.

According to documents released in April, some migrants told American law enforcement that Singh charged anywhere between $5,000 and $35,000 for facilitating their entry into the US.

Singh’s sentencing is scheduled for December 28, 2023, before US District Judge Mae A D’Agostino in Albany, New York.

He faces a mandatory term of five years in prison which may go up to 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of up to three years. He will be subject to deportation following the conclusion of his sentence, which is determined by an immigration judge.

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