* United States v. Irfan Ul Haq, et al. (D.D.C. Sep. 12, 2011)
An interesting case. The three defendants (all citizens of Pakistan) ran a human smuggling operation in Ecuador, and agreed to smuggle a man whom they believed was a member of the Pakistani Taliban from Pakistan into the United States. They have now pled guilty to a charge of conspiring to provide material support to that group. Details from the press release appear below:
WASHINGTON – Three Pakistani citizens pleaded guilty today in the District of Columbia to conspiracy to provide material support to the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), often referred to as the Pakistani Taliban, a designated foreign terrorist organization.
At a hearing today before U.S. District Judge John D. Bates in Washington, D.C., Irfan Ul Haq, 37; Qasim Ali, 32; and Zahid Yousaf, 43, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. At sentencing, which is scheduled for Dec. 9, 2011, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. As part of their plea agreements, the defendants have agreed to a stipulated order of removal to Pakistan upon the completion of their criminal sentences.
Ul Haq, Ali and Yousaf were arrested in Miami on March 13, 2011, on an indictment filed in the District of Columbia charging them with one count of conspiracy to commit alien smuggling. Based on the defendants’ guilty pleas to terrorism conspiracy charges, the government will dismiss at the sentencing hearing the charges of conspiracy to commit alien smuggling against the defendants.
Ul Haq, Ali and Yousaf admitted that between Jan. 3, 2011, and March 10, 2011, they conspired to provide material support to the TTP in the form of false documentation and identification, knowing that the TTP engages in terrorist activity and terrorism. According to court documents, Ul Haq, Ali and Yousaf conducted a human smuggling operation in Quito, Ecuador, that attempted to smuggle an individual they believed to be a member of the TTP from Pakistan into the United States. The TTP was designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department on Sept. 1, 2010.
Court documents indicate that law enforcement agents directed confidential sources to ask the defendants, who were residing in Ecuador at the time, for their assistance in smuggling a fictitious person from Pakistan to the United States. Over the course of the ensuing negotiations, the defendants were made aware that the person to be smuggled was a member of the TTP who was blacklisted in Pakistan.
According to the court documents, the defendants agreed to move this person from Pakistan into the United States, despite his purported affiliation with the TTP. Ul Haq, according to the court documents, told the confidential sources that it was “not their concern” what the men “want to do in the United States – hard labor, sweep floor, wash dishes in a hotel, or blow up. That will be up to them.” The defendants accepted payment from the confidential sources for the smuggling operation and procured a false Pakistani passport for the purported TTP member.