Arrest made in Sask. human smuggling case


RCMP say they will offer up more details this morning in Regina about a human smuggling case involving asylum seekers trying to cross the U.S.

Canadian police said on Wednesday they seized evidence and "a significant amount of cash" from a Regina home searched after Ms Omoruyi's arrest on 14 April.

She was stopped after crossing at the Saskatchewan border in a vehicle carrying nine foreign nationals. She will make her first appearance in Estevan Provincial Court on May 15.

Refugee advocates have argued that were it not for the Safe Third Country Agreement, people would file claims at border crossings instead.The people caught crossing unlawfully comprise a fifth of everyone who has filed asylum claims in Canada so far this year but they loom large in Canadian politics, with the federal government taking fire for its wait-and-see approach.

At the same time last Friday, U.S. Border Patrol officers arrested several people in connection with the investigation. Donovan Fisher, of the RCMP, said human smuggling charges are generally not laid if humanitarian reasons are believed to be the motive for aiding or facilitating the migrants.

The Saskatchewan charges are part of a four-month investigation in collaboration between Canadian and US authorities.

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"They're conducting a parallel investigation on the south side of the border".

Of those stopped in March, 644 were picked up in Quebec, 170 in Manitoba and 71 in B.C. There were lone crossers in Alberta and New Brunswick.

Some of those coming to Canada in spots like Emerson, Man., have told authorities they were motivated to leave the US because of the new administration, fearful their asylum claims won't be treated fairly or that general anti-immigrant sentiment was rising.

The 2004 pact, known as the Safe Third Country Agreement, forces most migrants to apply for asylum in the first country in which they arrive.

The arrest was made as a part of Project FADDUCE.

Dench said smugglers take advantage of people not knowing that they don't need to pay somebody to cross.