Human traffickers arrested

Human traffickers arrested
The CBSA border checkpoint in Cornwall

CORNWALL, Ontario – Five people have been arrested following a seven-month investigation into a human smuggling operation in the Cornwall-Massena area as part of Operation Project Oinertia.

Operation Project Oinertia was a joint investigation involving the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service (AMPS) and the Massena Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) that focused on north and southbound human smuggling of foreign nationals in Cornwall, Ontario, St. Regis, Quebec and Massena, New York.

On October 20, 2016, search warrants were executed by the CBSA, RCMP and AMPS at residences in Quebec and Ontario. As a result, five people have been arrested and four people have been charged.

Huai Guo Li, 59, of Carignan, Quebec, is charged with three counts of conspiracy under paragraph 465(1)(c) of the Criminal Code of Canada and one count of aiding or abetting the illegal entry to Canada of one or more persons under section 18(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).

Donald Benedict, 44, of Cornwall, Ontario, is charged with two counts of conspiracy under paragraph 465(1)(c) of the Criminal Code of Canada and one count of aiding or abetting the illegal entry to Canada of one or more persons under Section 18(1) of the IRPA.

Edwin Benedict, 48, of Cornwall Island, Ontario, is charged with two counts of conspiracy under paragraph 465(1)(c) of the Criminal Code of Canada.

Jessica Martin-Conners, 43, of Cornwall Island, Ontario, is charged with one count of conspiracy under paragraph 465(1)(c) of the Criminal Code of Canada.

The investigation is ongoing and more charges may follow.

“The CBSA works closely with its national, international and local law enforcement partners to detect and prevent illegal cross-border activity such as human smuggling,” Jeff Davidson, Director, CBSA Northern Ontario Region, Enforcement and Intelligence Operations Division was quoted as saying. “This is an excellent example of how law enforcement organization work together to stop the illegal movement of people across our shared borders.”

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