Ghanaian pleads guilty for smuggling aliens into America

court_scale.jpgA Ghanaian national, named Sampson Lovelace Boateng also known as
‘Pastor’, 53, is pleading guilty in a US court to conspiracy and alien
smuggling charges into the US.

He faces between five and 15 years in prison plus a fine of $250,000 in addition to deportation after serving the sentence.

According
to an official court report, some of the aliens were smuggled in the
compartments of buses, and that the services of DHL and Western Union
were exploited in facilitating the illegal dealing. Mr. Boateng, who
operated out of Belize in Mexico, and his co-conspirator, Mohammed
Kamel Ibrahim, were jointly charged on a 28-count indictment returned
by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia on October 31, 2007.

Mr.
Boateng admitted that between June, 2006 and February, 2007, he
conspired with others to smuggle unauthorized aliens to the United
States by providing them with fraudulently obtained visas which cost
$500, the court report said. Mr. Boateng and his co-conspirator housed
the aliens for several days or weeks in Mexico before they were
smuggled into the US and that smuggling fees totalled approximately
$5,000 per person.

These documents, which he obtained through a
corrupt employee of the Mexican Embassy in Belize, enabled East African
aliens to travel to Mexico and reach a point where they could be
smuggled across the southern US border. According to the court report,
Mr. Boateng, who was formally arrested in the US on November 5, 2007
reportedly operated as a car dealer while in Belize. He was extradited
from Belize after he and two Ghanaians – Frank Boateng, 28, and Kwame
Boakye, 26, as well as his wife, a Belizean woman by name Irma
Valencia, 49, were arrested in connection with what police has said was
a major immigration scam.

On November 2, 2007, Belize police and
immigration officers raided two houses in the city, one on Smith
Street, Kings Park, and the other at the corner of Cemetery Road and
Partridge Street, Lake I, and found passports for various
nationalities, as well a collection of immigration papers and a
computer they believed was being used in the scam. “They were also
accused of placing immigration stamps inside the passports to make it
appear as if the holders of the passports had visited Belize, when it
was not so”, the report said. Mr. Boateng’s wife Valencia was employed
as a secretary at the Mexican Embassy while the scam was ongoing.

In
the indictment made last year, the US court said that under the scheme,
aliens were brought from places like Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya and
Nepal. The court report said that Ibrahim worked through Mr. Boateng
and others to fraudulently procure various foreign travel documents
such as Mexican visas, enabling the persons to reach the US finally. He
would communicate with the Ghanaian, “to discuss the smuggling
operation, to advertise his alien-smuggling services, to negotiate fees
for aliens who were to be smuggled into the United States, to
co-ordinate the delivery of the fake obtained travel documents, to
communicate regarding the payment of fees and implement smuggling
arrangements and events and also resolve issues that arose”.

It
further stated that Mr. Boateng and his men took steps to cover up and
maintain the secrecy of their alien smuggling activities to protect
themselves from prosecution and to permit them to continue in the
business. The report captured an e-mail Ibrahim sent on or about July
29, 2006, instructing the sponsor of two aliens to pay some money to
Mr. Boateng: “Please send the money to Lovelace, Belize City by Western
Union… They gave them 8 days to stay in Mexico, but they have 3 months
to use the visa”.

Another e-mail around the same time from
Ibrahim to his smuggling associate read: “I have a visa deal from
Ethiopia, but it’s little bit expensive, I am currently in Belize to
collect some guys. I will get it in 3 days, but it will cost $5,000. If
you need it send me passports ASAP to Kamel Ibrahim, DHL office Belize
City, Belize 0050162530810”.

Before US District Judge Ricardo
M. Urbina, Mr. Boateng pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and
three counts of bringing aliens to the United States for profits, but
there was no indication of how much money he made from the scam.

Source: Gye Nyame Concord