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2 charged in smuggling ring

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  • 2 charged in smuggling ring

    Two men were charged Friday with taking part in an international conspiracy
    to smuggle Middle Eastern immigrants into the United States through Cuba,
    Jamaica and South America.

    Iqbal Munawar, 40, a Pakistani national, and Chelliah Sri Kajamukam, 37, a
    Canadian citizen and Sri Lankan native, were held without bail Friday,
    after they were arrested at Miami International Airport on Thursday.

    The two were wanted on a warrant out of New York City, where a federal
    complaint says they helped a third man, Nathu Babu Dhamelia, bring aliens
    into the United States for $20,000 each.

    FBI Special Agent Timothy Ryan, in a criminal complaint, said a
    confidential informant contacted the U.S. Customs Service in Miami in March
    to report an international smuggling operation.

    An anonymous letter to the American Consulate in Mumbai, India, described
    Dhamelia as an honorary Cuban consul who had issued more than 1,500 Cuban
    visas "without regard to the person's eligibility for such visas."

    Authorities in Panama also wanted Dhamelia for trying to smuggle 29 aliens
    by ship from Ecuador to the United States via Panama, Ryan said.

    On Aug. 5, Customs intercepted a package addressed to Dhamelia in India and
    found 55 blank Cuban tourist visas, two blank Jamaican immigration cards
    and other documents.

    Five days later, the FBI questioned Dhamelia's wife in New Jersey. She told
    them that Munawar and "Mohan," who later turned out to be Kajamukam, were
    partners with her husband and two other men in India in the alien smuggling
    enterprise, Ryan stated.

    The ring allegedly ran aliens through MIA and JFK International in New
    York. Munawar is accused of bringing the aliens in using Jamaica Airlines,
    and also by boat, as recently as July.

    Federal agents arrested Kajamukam at noon Thursday as he arrived from
    Nassau, Bahamas. Munawar arrived at MIA at 9 p.m. and was also arrested.

    The men will appear Thursday for a bond hearing in Miami, and could be
    transferred to New York after that.

  • #2
    Two men were charged Friday with taking part in an international conspiracy
    to smuggle Middle Eastern immigrants into the United States through Cuba,
    Jamaica and South America.

    Iqbal Munawar, 40, a Pakistani national, and Chelliah Sri Kajamukam, 37, a
    Canadian citizen and Sri Lankan native, were held without bail Friday,
    after they were arrested at Miami International Airport on Thursday.

    The two were wanted on a warrant out of New York City, where a federal
    complaint says they helped a third man, Nathu Babu Dhamelia, bring aliens
    into the United States for $20,000 each.

    FBI Special Agent Timothy Ryan, in a criminal complaint, said a
    confidential informant contacted the U.S. Customs Service in Miami in March
    to report an international smuggling operation.

    An anonymous letter to the American Consulate in Mumbai, India, described
    Dhamelia as an honorary Cuban consul who had issued more than 1,500 Cuban
    visas "without regard to the person's eligibility for such visas."

    Authorities in Panama also wanted Dhamelia for trying to smuggle 29 aliens
    by ship from Ecuador to the United States via Panama, Ryan said.

    On Aug. 5, Customs intercepted a package addressed to Dhamelia in India and
    found 55 blank Cuban tourist visas, two blank Jamaican immigration cards
    and other documents.

    Five days later, the FBI questioned Dhamelia's wife in New Jersey. She told
    them that Munawar and "Mohan," who later turned out to be Kajamukam, were
    partners with her husband and two other men in India in the alien smuggling
    enterprise, Ryan stated.

    The ring allegedly ran aliens through MIA and JFK International in New
    York. Munawar is accused of bringing the aliens in using Jamaica Airlines,
    and also by boat, as recently as July.

    Federal agents arrested Kajamukam at noon Thursday as he arrived from
    Nassau, Bahamas. Munawar arrived at MIA at 9 p.m. and was also arrested.

    The men will appear Thursday for a bond hearing in Miami, and could be
    transferred to New York after that.

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