U.S. bor­der pa­trol ar­rests 2 Cana­di­ans in hu­man smug­gling in­ves­ti­ga­tion

The Daily Courier - - CANADA -

REGINA (CP) — Au­thor­i­ties in the U.S. say two Cana­dian ci­ti­zens and one per­son from Nige­ria have been ap­pre­hended as part of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into hu­man smug­gling.

The U.S. Bor­der Pa­trol said agents picked up the three peo­ple last Friday be­tween the North Por­tal and North­gate cross­ings, the le­gal en­try points into Saskatchewan from North Dakota. It was not im­me­di­ately clear whether the peo­ple are still in cus­tody or if charges have been laid.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion has al­ready led to the ar­rest and charges against a Saskatchewan woman. Michelle Omoruyi, 43, is charged with hu­man smug­gling and con­spir­acy to com­mit hu­man smug­gling. She is to ap­pear in court on May 15 in Este­van, Sask.

Omoruyi’s lawyer, Aaron Fox, de­clined to com­ment Thurs­day.

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion into or­ga­nized hu­man smug­gling in south­east­ern Saskatchewan be­gan last De­cem­ber af­ter Cana­dian bor­der of­fi­cers re­ferred a re­turn­ing male Cana­dian res­i­dent for fur­ther ex­am­i­na­tion.

The Cana­dian Bor­der Ser­vices Agency said there was ev­i­dence to sug­gest smug­glers were bring­ing for­eign na­tion­als into Canada from the United States.

Last Friday, Amer­i­can bor­der au­thor­i­ties iden­ti­fied a sus­pect in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion as he en­tered the U.S. They no­ti­fied their Cana­dian coun­ter­parts, who in turn alerted the RCMP “that a smug­gling at­tempt may be im­mi­nent.”

RCMP said a woman was then stopped on the Cana­dian side of the bor­der be­tween the North Por­tal and North­gate cross­ings. Po­lice say nine peo­ple from West Africa were in her ve­hi­cle, but au­thor­i­ties would not con­firm their ages, gen­der or na­tion­al­i­ties. They were pro­cessed and were re­leased into Canada. All nine have made refugee claims.

Ge­tachew Woldye­sus, with the Regina Open Door So­ci­ety, a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion that pro­vides ser­vices to refugees and im­mi­grants, says the refugees claimants have not yet reached out to the agency.

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