California Man Uses Uber In Smuggling Scheme
A California man was arrested Tuesday for running a human smuggling scheme into Washington state and over the northern border with Canada, according to U.S. Attorney Nick Brown.
The criminal complaint shows that 48-year-old Rajinder Pal Singh, also known as Jaspal Gill used Uber to transport people who had illegally crossed the border into the Seattle area.
Records indicate Uber trips that began near the Canadian border would be split between two rides. One trip would run from the border to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, and then shortly after a second trip would go from a nearby airport hotel to an address in Lacey owned by Singh’s wife.
According to documents, the Lacey house served as a way station for individuals illegally entering the U.S.
Singh sometimes arranged for rental cars to drive individuals to destinations in the Midwest. More recently, Singh had purchased airline tickets for his customers to be flown to their destinations.
The smuggling scheme had been operating since at least 2018 but slowed during the pandemic when Canada was not admitting noncitizens into the country.
Investigators estimate that between July 2018 and April 2022, there were 17 Uber accounts that ran up more than $75,000 in charges.
According to the criminal complaint, Singh charged his clients up to $11,500 per person for his smuggling services.
Singh was captured on surveillance video buying large numbers of Uber gift cards in northern California which were used for Uber trips that started near the Canadian border.
“We are grateful for the effort and dedication of Homeland Security investigators who handled this case,” an Uber spokesperson said in a statement. “Human trafficking is a global issue and Uber is thankful we could do our part to support the law enforcement investigation and provide information that helped lead to an arrest and potentially saved the lives of countless victims.”
Conspiracy to transport and harbor illegal aliens is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.