The US Justice Department announced on Monday that 60-year-old Indian citizen Yadvinder Singh Bhamba, who was accused of several counts of smuggling, pleaded guilty to the charges before a court in Puerto Rico. He has been charged on 16 counts — one count of conspiracy and 15 counts of smuggling "aliens" into the country for profit.
He will be sentenced later this year in April, according to a PTI report.
Bhamba pleaded guilty to orchestrating a human smuggling conspiracy since 2013, operating trans-nationally across India, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico and other nations.
As per Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski from the Justice Department's criminal division, Bhamba helped some 400 people illegally enter the US between 2013 and 2015, directing and overseeing the co-conspirators operating out of the Caribbean.
He, along with the other racketeers, made arrangements for illegal Indian migrants to fly to the Dominican Republic along indirect routes through countries such as Thailand, the UAE, Argentina, Iran, Panama, Venezuela, and Belize. The Dominican Republic functioned as the staging area for them before they were smuggled into the US.
The boats used to transport the people were old, damaged, unlicensed and overcrowded. At least one person died during the perilous journey, according to the US Justice Department.