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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

Department of Justice Seal Department of Justice


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2002
WWW.USDOJ.GOV
CRM
(202) 616-2777
TDD (202) 514-1888

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ANNOUNCES ARREST AND INDICTMENT OF MAHER
WAZZEN AHMED YUSOF JARAD FOR ALIEN SMUGGLING


WASHINGTON, D.C. Michael Chertoff, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Justice Department's Criminal Division, Roscoe C. Howard Jr., U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, and Warren A. Lewis, District Director of the Washington District Office for the Immigration and Naturalization Service, announce the arrest and indictment of Maher Wazzen Ahmed Yusof Jarad on an alien smuggling charge. His arrest is part of an ongoing investigation conducted by the Justice Department's Alien Smuggling Task Force, the U.S. Attorney's Office in the District of Columbia, and the INS District Offices in Mexico City and Washington.

"The smuggling of aliens into the United States often exploits vulnerable individuals, even as it violates United States sovereignty," said Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff. "Any individual who seeks to abuse our immigration laws will face serious consequences for violating our borders."

Jarad, 35, was charged in a one-count indictment in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia with encouraging or inducing aliens to come to, enter, or reside in the United States in violation of U.S. law. A federal grand jury returned the indictment on Feb. 21, and Jarad was arrested by INS officials on Saturday, Feb. 23, after arriving in the United States.

Jarad is charged with smuggling aliens in connection with the U.S. government's interception of "Esperanza". The Ecuadorian vessel "Esperanza" was bound for Guatemala with the final destination of the migrants being the United States. The "Esperanza" is a 65 foot vessel that had a crew of 5 Ecuadorians. Passengers on board included Ecuadorians and Iraqis. The vessel was ordered to return to Ecuador by Ecuadorian authorities after the U.S. authorities advised them that the vessel was so unfit for travel that it endangered the lives of those aboard and, that several migrants were already seriously ill.

Jarad had his initial appearance before a United States District Court in Houston, and his removal to the District of Columbia for prosecution has been ordered. If convicted of the charge in the indictment, Jarad faces up to five years imprisonment per migrant.

United States Attorney Roscoe C. Howard, Jr. commended the coordination between the Washington District and Mexico City Districts of INS noting, "[t]his case is the latest prosecution resulting from the close relationship between the U.S. Attorney's Office and the INS over the past two years. Our coordinated efforts have produced 10 alien smuggling convictions in that period with several investigations and prosecutions still pending."

"The Washington District will continue to aggressively pursue those who risk the lives of migrants by attempting to smuggle them into the United States for personal financial gain. This case is a classic example of the good that can be done when different jurisdictional districts work together for a common cause, " said INS District Director Lewis.

Director Lewis acknowledges and commends the hard work and special efforts of the INS personnel assigned to the Ecuador Office under the direction of Officer in Charge Salvador Briseno, and case agent Anthony Wilks of the Washington District Office. Additionally, INS personnel at the Houston, Detroit and San Diego District Offices; and INS Headquarters Office of Field Operations participated in this investigation.

###

02-104


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