FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
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Pakistani Citizen Sentenced to 31 Months in Prison
On Human Smuggling Conspiracy Charge
WASHINGTON – A Pakistani citizen has been sentenced in the District of Columbia to 31 months in prison on a human smuggling charge, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr., Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, John Morton, Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Miami Division.
Muhammad Abid Hussain, 27, was sentenced on April 9, 2012 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by the Honorable John D. Bates. A jury found Hussain guilty in January 2012 of conspiring to encourage and induce an individual to come to the United States unlawfully.
According to the evidence presented at trial, in February and March 2011, Hussain and a co-conspirator conducted a human smuggling operation in Quito, Ecuador, that attempted to smuggle an individual from Pakistan to the United States. No individuals or material were actually smuggled from Pakistan as part of the operation. Hussain was arrested in Miami on March 13, 2011.
Hussain was acquitted of a second charge of conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization relating to the same conduct.
“This defendant was one of five Pakistani nationals convicted of federal charges in the District of Columbia after investigations uncovered human smuggling operations out of Ecuador,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “The success of this case demonstrates our determination to protect the nation’s borders and act on threats to our national security.”
The investigation was conducted by the ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) attaché office in Quito, Ecuador, with the HSI office in Atlanta, the Miami Division of the FBI and the Ecuadorian National Police.
The investigation was conducted under the Extraterritorial Criminal Travel Strike Force (ECT) program, a joint partnership between the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and HSI. The ECT program focuses on human smuggling networks that may present particular national security or public safety risks, or present grave humanitarian concerns. ECT has dedicated investigative, intelligence and prosecutorial resources. ECT coordinates and receives assistance from other U.S. government agencies and foreign law enforcement authorities.
The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs, the U.S. National Central Bureau of INTERPOL, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Embassy in Quito and the government of Ecuador provided invaluable support.
The case was prosecuted jointly by prosecutors from the Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section of the Criminal Division, the Counterterrorism Section of the National Security Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.