NEW YORK: A Pakistani citizen, Sharafat Ali Khan, 32, pleaded guilty on Wednesday for his role in a scheme to smuggle undocumented migrants from Pakistan into the United States.
Khan, 32, a Pakistani citizen and former resident of Brazil, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to smuggle undocumented migrants into the United States for profit before U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton of the District of Columbia.
Khan was extradited to the United States from Qatar on July 13, 2016. Judge Walton scheduled Khan’s sentencing hearing for July 6, 2017.
According to admissions in the plea agreement, between March 2014 and May 2016, Khan and other co-conspirators organized and arranged the unlawful smuggling of large numbers of undocumented migrants to the United States.
For their smuggling operation, Khan admitted that he and his co-conspirators used a network of facilitators to transport undocumented migrants from Pakistan and elsewhere through Brazil and Central America and then into the United States by land, air or sea travel.
Khan further admitted that he was responsible for managing safe houses for the migrants and arranging a network of associates in other countries to serve as escorts during different legs of the smuggling route.
Khan also admitted that voyage included harsh conditions that caused a substantial risk of serious bodily injury or death – including lengthy foot hikes with little food and water through the Darien Gap, a dangerous tropical forest area in Panama.