Saturday, December 08, 2007
The safe of the Canadian Border still remained on the limbo. Unknown how many people enter U.S. We don't know how many were taken across for sure but being picked up by co-conspirators in the U.S. Koreans came to Canada because they could enter the country without a visa.
A one-time Windsor resident is one of seven suspects from Canada facing extradition to the U.S. to face charges of operating human smuggling operations that sent approximately 100 undocumented workers to the United States in the last two years.
A U.S. indictment says that Jun Park, 50, whose last known residence was in Windsor, was involved in picking up illegal aliens arriving at Toronto's Pearson International Airport, charging them US$5,000 to $10,000, housing and feeding them and dropping them at night in remote areas on the Canada-U.S. border.
Park was one of four suspects arrested in Toronto recently.
RCMP investigators also arrested Chol Ming Jang, 49, his wife Dal Sung Jang (also known as Seonee Jang) 44, and Sang Hoon Lee, 35, all from the Toronto area. They appeared in Ontario court in Toronto Nov. 19.
In addition, Sang Soo Ko, 28, was arrested in Seoul, South Korea by the Korean national police service's international crime squad, according to indictments made public by Thomas Anderson, U.S. attorney for Vermont.
A sixth suspect, Myong Ho Tong, 46, is believed to be a resident of New York and is being sought there by U.S. agents.
Also arrested in an accompanying sweep of the second smuggling ring based in Quebec was Jose Manuel Galdamez Serrano, a native of El Salvador, believed to be from Montreal.
He has been described by U.S. authorities as the ringleader of the second, so-called Galdamez Organization.
Two other suspects from that alleged ring were also arrested: Ruben Damas Hernandez, 29, and Norvin Gonzalez-Morales, 26.
The indictment states that U.S. and Canadian authorities broke up the two conspiracies, based in Toronto and Montreal, responsible for smuggling as many as 20 people a month into the U.S. from a variety of countries, including Korea, Pakistan and India, and Central America.
Cpl. Cathy McCrory, a media relations officer with the RCMP in Toronto, said Park was apparently the only Windsor connection to the alleged conspiracy and there is no evidence that the Windsor-Detroit border crossings played any role in the operations.
Staff Sgt. Ed McNorton, media relations officer for the Windsor Police Service, said Park was never under investigation in the Windsor area and is unknown to police.
Attempts to reach Park's relatives were unsuccessful. McCrory said it is not known if Park is a Canadian citizen.
According to the U.S. indictment, Park was charged with bringing at least five aliens to the United States border on or about Nov. 21, 2006.
After picking them up at the airport, he housed them, waiting for an opportunity to bring them to the international border, either through New York State or Vermont.
McCrory said the illegals were dropped at the border at night and were expected to travel on foot on paths through heavy forest, avoiding major roads and sometimes running through bush for several miles, before being picked up by co-conspirators in the U.S.
It is believed they were then driven to large cities on the East Coast, such as New York or Boston, where they disappeared into the population.
We don't know how many were taken across for sure," said McCrory.
"Approximately 100 over a two-year period in 13 separate attempts.
"They were let go in heavily wooded areas, despite the enforcement there, and covertly got across the border."
McCrory said the majority of those smuggled were Koreans. She said they came to Canada because they could enter the country without a visa. But they would not have had the proper paperwork or visa to enter the U.S. and would likely have been refused entry.
Why they would risk running the border rather than applying for a visa, McCrory said, remains a mystery.
"I don't know why they wouldn't do that," she said. "It would be interesting to get their perspective."
McCrory said the arrests have effectively broken up the two smuggling rings, with no outstanding warrants remaining. But she added that investigators believe there are other human smugglers operating in border areas and investigations are ongoing.
McCrory said the Jangs can fight extradition since they are Canadian citizens. She said that Park, and other suspects arrested whose citizenship status is unknown, will also go through some formal process and won't simply be handed over.
If convicted, they could face up to 15 years in prison on each charge.