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Africa | Ghana | World

Ghanaian human smuggler gets 5 years in US prison

afrol News, 23 January - A Ghanaian man was today sentenced to five years in prison, in the District of Columbia for his role in smuggling East Africans into the United States.

Mohammed Kamel Ibrahim, also known as Hakim, 27, a native of Ghana and naturalised citizen of Mexico, was given the prison term by the U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy and three counts of bringing aliens to the United States for profit.

According to his plea, Ibrahim operated an alien-smuggling organisation in Mexico City that moved unauthorised aliens from East Africa across the southern U.S. border beginning in 2005.

In plea documents Ibrahim admitted that between June 2006 and February 2007 he and co-defendant Sampson Lovelace Boateng conspired to smuggle unauthorised aliens to the United States by providing the aliens with fraudulently obtained Mexican visas. The visas, which Boateng obtained through a corrupt employee of the Mexican embassy in Belize, enabled the East Africans to travel into Mexico, then be smuggled across the southern U.S. border by Ibrahim's organisation.

According to the plea documents, Ibrahim's organisation also smuggled the aliens by various means, including by concealing them for more than 12 hours in the sleeper compartments of commercial buses. In pleading guilty, Ibrahim admitted to smuggling between 25 and 99 aliens into the United States.

Mr Ibrahim and Mr Boateng were charged in a 28-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia in October 2007.

Mr Ibrahim was arrested by Mexican authorities in Mexico City on 5 December, 2007, and extradited to the United States on 24 April, 2008, while Mr Boateng was arrested at Miami International Airport on 5 November, 2007, after arriving on a commercial airline flight from Belize. Mr Boateng also pleaded guilty to conspiracy and alien-smuggling charges in the District of Columbia on 22 April, 2008, and his sentencing is scheduled for 22 February this year.

According to the law, both men will also be removed from the United States upon completion of their sentences.

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