Canadian sentenced to prison in smuggling scheme

Mark Hicks The Detroit News

A Canadian immigration consultant was sentenced Friday to 36 months in prison for her role in what federal investigators described as an illegal alien smuggling scheme, the Detroit U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Iram Jafri, 38, pleaded guilty in February to engaging in alien smuggling for purposes of financial gain. In an indictment filed last year, a grand jury alleged the Windsor resident operated a scheme over five years to smuggle aliens into the United States through Detroit for money.

Documents filed with Detroit’s U.S. District Court revealed that from 2011 through 2016, Jafri fraudulently obtained visas for more than 100 illegal aliens living in America by making false representations to multiple state and federal agencies as well as submitting hundreds of false documents, investigators said in a statement.

“As part of the scheme, Jafri instructed the aliens to travel to a company she operated in Canada, A.J & Associates, and then transported the illegal aliens from Windsor to the U.S. port of entry in Detroit where she assisted the illegal aliens in entering the U.S. based on the visas she had fraudulently obtained,” the release read.

During her sentencing Friday in United States District Court before Judge Laurie J. Michelson, Jafri — who previously had no criminal record — was ordered to pay a fine of $200,000.

“HSI special agents will continue to vigorously pursue those who think the law does not apply to their criminal acts,” ICE Special Agent in Charge Steve Francis said in a statement. “We are resolute in our efforts to hold accountable the perpetrators who attempt to circumvent United States law by participating in alien smuggling. This conviction underscores the necessity of the public’s awareness of these schemes and importance of holding the defendant accountable.”