Afghan national charged with smuggling people into US

New York, August 3

A former US military interpreter from Afghanistan has been indicted on charges of smuggling people into America from his home country, including at least one person who triggered “national security concerns.”             

Mujeeb Rahman Saify, 32, charged up to USD 10,000, which covered fraudulent identity documents and plane tickets from Afghanistan to Latin America, where he sought to shepherd them north into the US, according to court documents.

Saify is an Afghan national who received a Special Immigrant Visa and became a US Lawful Permanent Resident in 2009, after serving as an interpreter for the US military in Afghanistan. Since 2009, Saify has resided in New York and Newark.

Saify was charged in the District of New Jersey with conspiracy to smuggle aliens to the US, encouraging and inducing alien smuggling, and attempting to bring aliens to the US, Assistant Attorney General Brian A Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said on Friday.

Saify worked with three persons, including a travel agent based in Peshawar to bring people to the US from Afghanistan illegally between July 2016 and February 2017, authorities said.

The indictment alleges that Saify made contact with the individuals and arranged meetings with the co-conspirators to discuss smuggling arrangements.

Further, he received payment, gave instructions to the aliens to facilitate the smuggling venture, and he used email and phone communications to facilitate and coordinate the criminal operation.

Saify is charged with three smuggling-related counts and faces a maximum 10 years in prison if convicted. PTI