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Winnipeg man charged with human smuggling

A Winnipeg man is facing human smuggling charges following a traffic stop on McGillivray Boulevard. A Winnipeg man is facing human smuggling charges following a traffic stop on McGillivray Boulevard.
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A Winnipeg man is facing human smuggling charges following a traffic stop in the southwest part of the city.

Early Thursday morning, at around 2 a.m., Mounties pulled over a vehicle on McGillivray Boulevard.

“From my understanding, this was traffic-related and not in relation to a human smuggling investigation,” Sgt. Paul Manaigre, a media relations officer with Manitoba RCMP, told CTV News Friday.

However, Manaigre said the officer contacted the Integrated Border Enforcement Team – a partnership between Canadian and U.S. officials – after they, "noted some indicators with the identities of where the subjects were from."

“And then from there, he made contact with our integrated border enforcement team for further guidance,” said Manaigre.

Eight passengers were found inside, and according to a news release from RCMP, were confirmed to be foreign nationals – seven from the Republic of Chad and one from the Republic of Mali.

The driver, 30-year-old Abdi Hassan Ali, was arrested and charged under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. He appeared in a Winnipeg court on Friday. Manaigre said Ali was previously known to police.

The charge has not been proven in court.

The eight passengers – a 33-year-old woman and seven men in their 20s and 30s – were arrested under the Customs Act. They were taken to an Immigration Support Center in Winnipeg and released from RCMP custody.

Manaigre said details on how and when they arrived in Manitoba are still under investigation.

It is the second time Manitoba RCMP has arrested and charged a person with human smuggling in the past month.

On Jan. 27, a Calgary man was charged with human smuggling following a traffic stop near Dominion City, Man. Seven men, who were also foreign nationals from Chad, were found in a rented vehicle.

Manaigre said a connection between the two incidents is "very possible."

“It's early in the investigation, and obviously, with the second such arrest made in just over a month, you can be assured that this matter is being looked into further.”

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