Tuesday, February 6, 2007

3 charged with human smuggling released

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Three New Brunswick men charged with attempting to smuggle two people from Guyana into the U.S. have been released from custody after a Tuesday afternoon bail hearing in St. Stephen.

Byron Murray, 56, John Wayne Richardson, 47, and his 20-year-old son John Jason Richardson were arrested Sunday night in Mohannas, 12 kilometres from St. Stephen.

"This was an ongoing investigation," said Corp. Andy Kerr of the Immigration and Passport Section of the RCMP. "It's alleged that they were conspiring to violate United States Immigration Laws."

Police say the men were trying to take two Guyanese nationals, 40-year-old Deoranie Ramkissoon and a 17-year-old boy who can't be named, across a train trestle over the St. Croix River into Maine.

The New Brunswick men have been granted bail with some conditions attached. Among those conditions, they must remain in New Brunswick and report to the RCMP once a week.

The two are being held by the Canada Border Services Agency.

"Within 48 hours of that arrest, their detention would have to be reviewed by a member of the immigration refugee board to determine if the person should remain in detention," said Immigration and Refugee Board spokesman Charles Hawkins.

Wife convicted of human smuggling

Murray is the husband of Savita Singh-Murray, the St. Stephen-area woman who spent 132 days in U.S. jail for attempting to smuggle three Guyanese nationals into Calais, Maine, in 2005. Singh-Murray was convicted of human smuggling and sentenced to time served.

The recent arrests in St. Stephen have raised questions about border security.

Corp. Rick Bernard of the RCMP's Integrated Border Enforcement Team says this kind of illegal activity is bad for border communities like St. Stephen.

"These are the kinds of things that we need to actively investigate and resolve these issues because they could potentially have an effect on the ease of travel between the two locations."

Federal Minister of Public Safety Stockwell Day weighed in on concerns about border safety raised by the arrests.

"There's cases all through the year where people who shouldn't be going across the border are stopped and we're pleased with the type of security that our people deliver," Day said. "Canadians can be confident about that."

Day says the government is spending money on new technology and training to improve security along the border.