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NRI Simranjit Singh pleads guilty to
human trafficking from Canada to US

Los Angeles, July 31, 2023 A.Gary Singh

NRI Simranjit Singh, a 41-year-old man from Brampton, Ont., pleaded guilty to nine counts of human smuggling before the U.S. Federal Court for the Northern District of New York on Friday. The case has revealed more information on a network that potentially moved hundreds of people from India across the Canada-U.S. border in 2020 and 2021.

Simranjit Singh, had been arrested in Ontario in June 2022 and was extradited from Canada to the U.S. in March.

Singh, who was a resident of Brampton, Ont., is facing at least five years in prison, but could also receive up to 15 years in prison, a fine of up to US$250,000, and three years of supervised release. He will also be facing deportation from the U.S. after his sentence is served, based on the decision of an immigration judge.

According to documents released in April, some migrants who say their entry into the U.S. was facilitated by Singh told American law enforcement that he charged them between $5,000 and $35,000, On another occasion, Singh allegedly bragged to a contact that he had smuggled more than 1,000 people into the U.S. or Canada.

Authorities say Akwesasne’s geography makes it a popular but dangerous route for smugglers. Back in March, the bodies of four Indian and four Romanian migrants were pulled from the St. Lawrence River in Akwesasne. The body of 30-year-old Casey Oakes was also found in the water earlier this month, and police say Oakes was “connected to the eight deceased victims.”

In March, Canada and the U.S. agreed to a deal aiming to stop asylum seekers coming to Canada through unofficial border crossings.

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