A Pakistani citizen was sentenced yesterday in the District of Columbia to 31 months in prison on a human smuggling charge. Muhammad Abid Hussain, 27, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge John D. Bates. On January 31, 2012, a federal jury in Washington, D.C., found Hussain guilty of conspiring to encourage and induce an individual to come to the United States unlawfully.

According to the government’s theory of the case, in February and March 2011, Hussain and a co-conspirator conducted a human smuggling operation in Quito, Ecuador, that attempted to smuggle an individual from Pakistan to the United States. No individuals or material were actually smuggled from Pakistan as part of the operation. Hussain was arrested in Miami on March 13, 2011.

Hussain was accused of conspiring to commit 8 U.S.C. 1324, for allegedly encouraging and inducing an alien to illegally come into the United States for financial gain. Hussain and his alleged co-conspirator, Ali Ahmed, never actually smuggled any persons into the U.S., which is why the government only charged him with a conspiracy. The indictment in this case also explains that the charges of conspiracy arose after four undercover sources sought out Hussain and Ahmed in Ecuador. The undercover agents portrayed themselves as members of the Pakistani Taliban (Terik-i-Taliban Pakistan) who were trying to smuggle a person into the United States. Hussain and Ahmed were indicted once the undercover sources got enough to bring a conspiracy charge.

Hussain was acquitted of a second charge of conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization relating to the same conduct. This charge was included in a superseding indictment brought against Hussain on December 8, 2011, but clearly the jury did not agree with such an accusation.

The author of this blog is Erich Ferrari, an attorney specializing in Federal Criminal Defense matters. If you have any questions please contact him at 202-280-6370 or ferrari@ferrari-legal.com.

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