A woman has been charged by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) “for organizing illegal entry into Canada, via Roxham Road.”
Olayinka Celestina Opaleye stands accused of aiding illegal border crossings across the U.S.-Canada border in return for compensation.
It is unclear how many individuals got into Canada with Opaleye’s help, but an investigation by the CBSA revealed that Opaleye was implicated in organizing the travel for several individuals during the summer of 2017.
In July alone of that year, 1,634 illegal border crossers were intercepted, mostly at the Quebec border. In 2017, a total of 20,593 individuals were arrested by the RCMP for illegally crossing the border away from official ports of entry.
Border authorities also believe that Opaleye was involved in a “network of smugglers” that organized travel and assistance for illegal migrants in return for payment.
No other arrests or charges have been announced.
This isn’t the first case of human smuggling across Canada’s border.
On April 14th, 2017, a Saskatchewan woman was intercepted trying to transport nine illegal migrants from West Africa across the Canada-U.S. border.
Michelle Omoruyi, 43, was arrested on the Canadian side of the border. She was later convicted of one count of human smuggling and another count of possession of crime proceeds, and was sentenced to 12 months of community service.
Her former Nigerian husband Victor Omoruyi was also apprehended in North Dakota and convicted for the same crimes. He was sentenced to serve nine months in jail for his crimes, after having served six months in a U.S. prison.
The nine individuals who were aided in the illegal border crossing by the Omoruyi’s were eventually freed and allowed to file asylum claims in Canada.
After a police investigation into the couple, the RCMP turned up a cash equivalent of about $30,000 and an additional $30,000 sum stored in a bank account, all of which were proceeds from criminal activities.
Authorities estimate that the two were charging a fee of $2,000 to $3,000 for their services. It is unclear exactly how many people the Omoruyi’s successfully smuggled across the border.