U.S. Justice Department released the below link:
Canadian national pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to bring aliens to the
United States for private financial gain in connection with his role in a
scheme to smuggle aliens from Sri Lanka through the Caribbean and into the
part of the plea, Sri Kajamukam Chelliah, aka Mohan, aka Richie, 55, of Sri
Lanka, admitted to conspiring with others to facilitate the travel of aliens
from Sri Lanka through Haiti, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Bahamas to the
United States from on or about July 1, 2019 through on or about Oct. 10, 2019.
During the course of the conspiracy, Chelliah worked with other human
smugglers, arranging housing and transport for illegal aliens en route to
Canada through the United States. Sentencing will be scheduled at a later date.
participating in a smuggling operation which planned to illegally transport
individuals through various countries, including the United States, the
defendant jeopardized the national security of the United States for his own
financial benefit” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid
of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “As this case
demonstrates, the Criminal Division is committed to working with our law
enforcement partners both here and abroad to bring human smugglers to justice
and to disrupt and dismantle the international networks they operate.”
arranged for the individuals to be transported from the airport in Port Au
Prince, Haiti, to a hotel where Chelliah housed and provided them with food.
Chelliah then arranged for transportation by boat from Haiti to Turks and
Caicos Islands, then to the Bahamas, and then by boat to Miami, Florida.
Chelliah accompanied the individuals, including traveling with them by boat
during their journey. The actions undertaken by Chelliah and co-conspirators in
furtherance of their smuggling activities were done in exchange for payment.
Chelliah further admitted as part of the plea that from approximately
October 2017 to approximately September 2019, six Sri Lankan
nationals with no legal right to come to, enter, or reside in the United
States, travelled from Sri Lanka to Haiti with the assistance of human
smugglers. Upon arrival in Haiti, Chelliah arranged for the six
individuals to be picked up at the airport and taken to a hotel. Chelliah
arranged for the individuals to be housed and fed at the hotel, then travel by
boat from Haiti to Turks and Caicos Islands and from Turks and Caicos Islands
to the Bahamas. The six aliens would then travel from the Bahamas to Miami,
Florida, by boat.
to the plea agreement, on Oct. 10, 2019, the six aliens, accompanied by
Chelliah, boarded a Haitian sloop sailboat heading for Turks and Caicos
Islands. The Haitian sloop sailboat carrying approximately 154 aliens, including
Chelliah, was subsequently interdicted by Turks and Caicos authorities.
Chelliah was arrested and ultimately convicted in Turks and Caicos on local
immigration charges and sentenced to 12 months imprisonment. Following the
completion of his prison sentence, he was placed in immigration detention in
Turks and Caicos.
was later arrested on July 28, 2020, by Turks and Caicos authorities, based on
a provisional arrest request submitted by the United States premised on a
sealed U.S. criminal complaint. He consented to extradition and, on Aug. 15,
2020, the Governor of Turks and Caicos issued an order allowing the extradition
to the United States. Chelliah was extradited to the United States on Aug. 17,
2020, and the criminal complaint was unsealed at his initial appearance on the
case is being investigated by HSI Miami, with assistance from the HSI Human
Smuggling Unit and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The investigation
is being conducted under the Extraterritorial Criminal Travel Strike Force
(ECT) program, a joint partnership between the Justice Department’s Criminal
Division and HSI. The ECT program focuses on human smuggling networks that may
present particular national security or public safety risks, or present grave
humanitarian concerns. ECT has dedicated investigative, intelligence and
prosecutorial resources. ECT coordinates and receives assistance from
other U.S. government agencies and foreign law enforcement authorities.
case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Rami S. Badawy and John Alex-Romano
of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section
(HRSP), and Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Dobbins of the Southern District of
Florida, with support from HRSP Trial Attorney Jim Hepburn. The Justice
Department’s Office of International Affairs provided significant assistance in
the investigation and in securing the defendant’s extradition to the United
States. The Department of Justice gratefully acknowledges the government of
Turks and Caicos Islands for their valuable assistance.