Sri Lankan charged with B.C. human smuggling case

RCMP Supt. Derek Simmonds, who heads the B.C. Federal Border Integrity Program, said a Canada-wide warrant has been issued for Thayakaran Markandu from Sri Lanka. Markandu has been charged with ‘organizing entry into Canada’ as part of the case which saw 492 illegal immigrants land in Canada in August of 2010.

The immigrants said to be mostly Tamils arrived on board the M.V. Sun Sea ship illegally and were all allowed into Canada.

“We are continuing to work with our international law enforcement partners to locate and arrest him,” said Simmonds. “Once he is in custody we can begin the process of having him extradited to Canada to stand trial. The RCMP said if Markandu is convicted of organizing entry for 10 or more people, he would face a $1-million fine, life imprisonment, or both.”

“This remains a very active investigation, and we won’t rule out the potential for further charges,” said Simmonds.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said the Canadian government encourages fair and legal immigration, but will not tolerate queue-jumping.

“The M.V. Sun Sea is a vivid example of this ongoing challenge,” Toews said in a statement. “Canada is a generous and compassionate country that welcomes newcomers. But no Canadian thinks it’s acceptable to abuse our immigration system for financial gain through the despicable crime of human smuggling.”

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