02-17-2009, 02:20 PM #1
Human smuggling leads to prison term
Human smuggling leads to prison terms for pair
Published: Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Two Windsor men have been jailed for their part in a human smuggling ring that saw an Albanian man drown when he fell off a jet ski trying to cross the Detroit River.
Maitham Alzherani, 36, a former resident of Elliott Street in Windsor, was sentenced to 41/2 years by Toronto judge Anne Molloy on Feb. 5.
On Sept. 2, 2005, Shjelqim Harizi drowned in the Detroit River near Rendezvous Estates near the Windsor-Tecumseh border.
He was riding the jet ski along with his mother when the craft capsized and both were thrown into the water.
Harizi's mother was rescued by another personal watercraft.
Harizi's body was fished from the water several days later. He was found to have $10,000 cash in his pocket to pay the smugglers.
Sentenced to four years in prison for his role in a botched smuggling attempt of eight Chinese nationals abandoned in a trailer in suburban Detroit was Fran Gashaj, 42, a former resident of Polonia Park Place in Windsor.
"These smugglers jeopardized human lives for personal profit," said Brian Moskowitz, special agent in charge of the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement office of investigations in Detroit.
"Their criminal business and personal greed resulted in the loss of a life here. ICE will continue to work closely with its law enforcement partners on both sides of the border to see that those individuals and organizations involved in this ruthless enterprise are held accountable for the suffering and loss of life they cause."
Alzherani's sentence was mitigated by the fact that he showed remorse after the death of his client.
Both men were found guilty after a five-week trial.
The investigation used undercover agents from the RCMP and ICE. The RCMP intercepted communication between Alzherani and other operatives in the smuggling ring in the Toronto area.
In February 2006, nine Windsor residents and a Leamington man were among 17 people arrested in what was known as Operation OBoy.
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