Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cops bust human-smuggling ring

Paul Cherry, The Gazette

Two Canadian-based human smuggling rings have been dismantled after a lengthy investigation on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border.

The U.S. Attorney's office in Vermont unsealed two indictments revealing two separate alleged conspiracies where hundreds of aliens from various countries were smuggled into the U.S. through border crossings in Quebec.

Two Terrebonne residents have been charged in Sherbrooke in connection with one of the two smuggling rings. Marcos Gonzales and Patricia Sorgente each face three counts of conspiracy. They are expected to return to court on December 20.

Three other people tied to the same ring have been arrested face possible extradition to the U.S. where they face charges in Vermont.

A woman named Jatinder Singh, 50, another alleged member of the ring is still being sought and is believed to be somewhere in Canada, a RCMP spokesperson said.

Gonzales and Sorgente are alleged to be part of what the U.S. Attorney in Vermont described as the "Galdamez Organization." It allegedly offered human smuggling services to other groups that trafficked in humans. According to U.S. authorities, people from Central and South America and countries like Pakistan and India, were willing to pay thousands of dollars to be brought into the U.S. through border crossings in Quebec.

Members of the organization would guide people across the border by foot at night while avoiding roads and points of entry. Other people tied to the organization would be waiting on the U.S. side of the border, ready to
provide transportation to U.S. cities.

Another smuggling ring was based in Toronto and is alleged to have smuggled hundreds of undocumented workers from Korea into the U.S. though unchecked parts of the border in Quebec.