Human Smuggling Operation Busted at US Border With Canada

Human Smuggling Operation Busted at US Border With Canada

A human smuggler was busted earlier this week at the U.S.-Canadian border. Three individuals were arrested and charged as a result of the incident, which took place at the Peace Bridge port of entry. 

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), 50-year-old Tonin Ndoja, a Canadian citizen, is charged with bringing illegal aliens into the U.S. in exchange for money.

The smuggled individuals are 30-year-old Bardok Tusha and his wife, 20-year-old Kleda Tusha. CBP reported that both are Albanian citizens. They have each been charged with illegal entry. 

Ndoja was a member of the trusted traveler program and a Free and Secure Trade (FAST) card holder. At the time of the human smuggling bust, the Canadian citizen was driving a tractor trailer. Officers referred him to secondary inspection at the Peace Bridge port of entry, which is when the Tusha couple was discovered hidden under a blanket in the cab of the tractor.

U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. said in a statement, “It is the responsibility of our office, along with our federal partners, to protect the flow of traffic across our international crossings. Whether it be illegal narcotics, commerce or in this case human beings, we will vigorously prosecute this and any other attempts to subvert the law at our local borders.”

Ndoja and the hidden Albanians were apprehended on November 12. Just one day later, Ndoja appeared before a U.S. Magistrate Judge. The Tushas also appeared before a judge and have plead guilty to illegal entry, a misdemeanor. Each was sentenced to time served. 

If convicted, Ndoja could spend up to 10 years in prison and face a $250,000 fine.

Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate