New York: A Pakistani citizen has been deported from the US for his role in smuggling individuals from South Asia, some with suspected ties to terrorist organisations, into the country.
Sharafat Ali Khan, 33, was the Brazilian-based facilitator of an alien smuggling organisation. On Monday, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers removed him from the country following an investigation by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with assistance from the FBI, into the alien smuggling scheme. He was turned over to Pakistani authorities Wednesday.
In March 2014, the HSI New York and FBI special agents had initiated an investigation into an alien smuggling organization operating in South and Central America, focusing on the movement of illegal aliens from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, through South and Central America to the United States.
From 2014 to 2016, more than 100 people arrested by the HSI and the FBI identified Khan as their smuggler. The investigation revealed that Khan and his co-conspirators charged each alien between USD 3,000 and USD 15,000 to facilitate their travel to the United States. Several of the individuals smuggled by Khan’s organisation had suspected ties to terrorist organisations.
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The Brazilian Federal Police executed a search warrant at Khan’s residence in Brazil in June 2016. Khan fled Brazil and attempted to travel to Pakistan via a commercial flight transiting through Doha, Qatar. Around the same time, the US District Court for the District of Columbia (DCDC) issued an arrest warrant for Khan, charging him with conspiracy to encourage or induce an alien to enter the United States for financial gain. On the same date, authorities at Hamad International Airport in Doha detained Khan pursuant to the arrest warrant.
HSI agents extradited Khan from Qatar to the United States through Washington Dulles International Airport, and US Customs and Border Protection paroled Khan into the United States for criminal prosecution. In October last year, DCDC convicted Khan of conspiracy to defraud the United States, and encourage or induce an alien for commercial advantage or private financial gain. DCDC sentenced Khan to 31 months’ imprisonment.