Saskatchewan

Regina man pleads guilty in connection with Canada-U.S. human smuggling ring

A Regina man charged in connection with a Canada-U.S. human smuggling ring has pleaded guilty as part of an agreement with the prosecution, according to his lawyer.

Victor Omoruyi's lawyer says he is asking for no further jail time in plea agreement

Michelle Omoruyi and her husband Victor were charged on opposite sides of the Canada-U.S. border in connection with human smuggling. (Facebook)

A Regina man charged in connection with a Canada-U.S. human smuggling ring has pleaded guilty as part of an agreement with the prosecution, according to his lawyer. 

Victor Omoruyi was arrested after crossing into North Dakota on April 14 and charged with harbouring and transporting an alien in the United States.

His lawyer, David Dusek, said he entered a plea agreement on April 26, the day his client made his first court appearance in a Grand Forks, N.D., courthouse.

Dusek said he will argue for Omoruyi to be released at his upcoming sentencing hearing.

"I'm asking for time served," Dusek said. "He has no prior criminal record. There's a chance I'll get it. Don't know, it's up to the judge whether you get that or not."

Dusek said the prosecution has agreed to ask for the lower end of the sentencing guidelines, which would be six months in jail.

The agreement reads, "defendant will plead guilty because defendant is in fact guilty of the charge."

It goes on to acknowledge the series of events laid out in previous court documents.

Wife charged in Canada

Omoruyi entered the United States from Canada at Portal, N.D., in a white Ford Explorer registered to his wife, Michelle Omoruyi.

He drove to Minot, where he picked up a group of Nigerian citizens and drove them north to within walking distance of the border. 

The five adults and four children walked across the border into Canada where they were apprehended by Canadian law enforcement.

Michelle Omoruyi was charged on the Canadian side of the border, after nine people were found in her vehicle.

Meanwhile, her husband picked up two people who had walked into the U.S. from Canada and began driving south.

The plea agreement says he intended to take Success Okundia and Tosin Johnson to Minot, from where they would travel on to other locations in the U.S.

Before that happened, however, Omoruyi and his two passengers were pulled over by U.S. authorities. 

Charges against passengers dropped

Both Okundia and Johnson had been charged with illegally entering the U.S.

The charges against them were dropped on May 24 and June 6, respectively. 

Michelle Omoruyi is facing charges of human smuggling in Canada. Her next court appearance is scheduled for Monday in Estevan, Sask.

She is not in custody. Her lawyer, Aaron Fox, said she will not be present on Monday and he is expecting an adjournment.

He said "it is of some relevance" that her husband has pleaded guilty, but said he will wait for the case to conclude in the U.S. before commenting further.

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