An Indian American has been convicted in a human trafficking racket that illegally transported South Asians from Canada to the US.
The trial in Seattle showed that as many as 100 Indian and Pakistani nationals were smuggled first into Canada and later into the US. The gang charged up to USD 40,000 per head.
Thirty-eight year old Harminder Singh of Kent, Washington, was convicted on Monday and faces between three and 10 years in jail, including deportation, the Vancouver Sun said yesterday.
Four Canadian residents facing similar charges are yet to be extradited to the US, but have a hearing scheduled in late March, according to the Canadian Department of Justice.
Five other Canadian residents arrested for their involvement in the racket pleaded guilty and testified at Singh's trial, Assistant US Attorney Ye-Ting Woo said in an interview.
The five, Raman Pathania, Jatinder Singh Brar, Sukhveer Singh Sandhu and Harjeevan Singh Parhar, all of Surrey, as well as Matthew Dehagi of Port Coquitlam, are due to be sentenced in the next two weeks, the US Attorney said.
American and Canadian officials had announced last April the arrests and indictments against 12 men for the human smuggling. The US court documents allege that the mastermind of the scheme was 46-year-old Kavel Multani of Vancouver, a dual Canadian and Indian citizen.
Three others involved in the racket, Sandip Singh Parhar of Delta, Amardeep Singh Powar, an Indian citizen living in Vancouver, and Stormy Walker are due to appear in British Columbia's Supreme Court on March 26 on extradition charges.