Guyanese man jailed in Canada for alien smuggling
Fees ranged from US$2,000-13,000
April 24, 2003
(Trinidad Newsday) A Guyanese man and a Trinidadian woman, have been jailed in Canada for three years for running a human smuggling ring which transported Trinidadians and Guyanese into the United States and Canada.
Chandrica Gurprasad, 44, formerly of Guyana, must also forfeit CDN$160,000 to the federal government, money he got from the people he was smuggling, after his November 29, 2002 conviction for conspiracy to violate US immigration laws. A co-accused, Nalinee Samaroo, 35, of Trinidad, was sentenced to house arrest for two years less a day, according to a report in yesterday's Toronto Star. The majority of the 40 known illegal immigrants originally came from Guyana and Trinidad and paid a fee of between $2,000 US and $13,000 US.
Another co-accused, Dasrath Balchand, 60, also of Guyana, received a six-month conditional sentence for an earlier guilty plea. A fourth man charged, Roy Morris, 52, a truck driver who is alleged to have made regular runs into the United States, is awaiting trial. Saying Gurprasad was "motivated by greed", Judge J Elliott Allen on Thursday said "these are serious times." Allen, presiding in a Brampton court, added that "people who suffer the most are the legitimate refugees and immigrants whose lives are complicated and made more difficult" by people such as Gurprasad.
Allen described Gurprasad's crime as being "reprehensible" considering he had spent six months in jail in the US in 1998 for the same crime. Using a confidential source, the RCMP began their probe in October, 2000 after learning that Gurprasad and Samaroo used false documents to get the migrants into Canada and then arranged for transport trucks to carry them into the US charging a fee for each transfer.
About 6,000 phone calls were intercepted during the RCMP investigation and hundreds of these phone calls revealed details involving the use of false refugee claims to enter Canada, the use of forged documents and fees charged to families and the migrants. The wiretaps also detailed methods and routes used by the accused. While under surveillance, the group was observed and videotaped making at least 20 trips with illegal immigrants inside transport trucks from Canada into the US.
Surveillance conducted by the RCMP observed Gurprasad meeting 12 migrants at Pearson International Airport upon their arrival in Canada, transporting them in his own vehicles to various locations in Greater Toronto, including his and Samaroo's homes. Fees charged varied, depending on the point of origin and the final destination. A trip from Guyana to the US ranged from $10,000 US to $13,000 US and the cost from Guyana to Canada was $10,000 US. If a person had made it to Canada on their own, they were charged between $2,000 and $3,000 US to enter the United States. When the RCMP smashed the ring on September 27, 2001, it was alleged the group had transported at least 100 people from Toronto to New York in the previous year and hundreds since 1997.