Abid Ali Khan allegedly ran a Pakistan-based smuggling network to facilitate the illegal immigration of individuals from Pakistan and Afghanistan into the United States, the Department of Justice said on April 7.
Khan, a Pakistani national, operated the network between January 2015 and December 2020, the DOJ said. He was indicted April 7 by a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia.
“Khan allegedly accepted payment in exchange for planning and coordinating the international travel for foreign nationals to travel from Pakistan through multiple countries, including Brazil and the United States, allegedly offered or provided false documents for foreign nationals to use for travel through multiple countries,” the DOJ stated.
ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations in Miami, Panama, and Brazil were involved in the investigation.
The DOJ didn’t immediately respond to questions from The Epoch Times about how many people Khan’s network allegedly smuggled into the United States. The Treasury Department said Khan was charging as much as $20,000 per individual.
“This sum includes, but is not limited to, fees to procure fraudulent or counterfeit documents, make payoffs to corrupt officials, secure lodging along smuggling route, and provide payments to facilitators in various countries,” the Treasury Department said in an April 7 statement.
In addition to the criminal charges, the Treasury Department has also designated Khan’s operation as a transnational criminal organization (TCO), which requires the “blocking and reporting of all assets held by Khan, his associates, and the Khan TCO in the U.S., or in the possession and control of U.S. persons,” the DOJ said.
In a 2018 case, another Pakistani, Sharafat Ali Khan was deported home after serving a prison sentence for facilitating an alien-smuggling operation from Brazil, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Sharafat Ali Khan helped smuggle at least 100 aliens from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh through South and Central America to the United States, according to ICE.
“Khan and his co-conspirators charged each alien between $3,000 and $15,000 to facilitate their travel to the United States. Several of the individuals smuggled by Khan’s organization had suspected ties to terrorist organizations,” ICE said.
The United States has a footprint in South and Central America and often the biometrics of migrants are taken on U.S.-bought equipment in both Panama and Costa Rica.
In 2016, six Pakistanis with suspected ties to al-Qaeda were deported after being discovered in Panama en route to the United States.