Traffic lines up at the Aldergrove border crossing. Aldergrove spiritual leader Joga Singh Badwal was given at 15-month conditional sentence for bringing people into Canada from the U.S. without presenting them for examination by Canadian border officials. File photo

Spiritual leader sentenced for bringing people over the border illegally

Judge said he was the mastermind behind operation that may have gone on for decades

A Supreme Court judge called a South Asian spiritual leader the ‘mind of the operation,’ who had a network of drivers on both sides of the Canada-US border to bring people across to Langley illegally for years.

On Nov. 17, B.C. Supreme Court Judge Jennifer Duncan sentenced Joga Singh Badwal to a 15-month conditional sentence for the lesser charge of failing to bring persons for examination upon entering Canada.

She had acquitted Badwal of the more serious charge of human smuggling.

The 68-year-old Aldergrove man is a spiritual leader in the South Asian community, living in a Gurdwara on Zero Avenue.

In December 2014, Badwal was formally charged under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, with one count of smuggling 10 or more persons and one count of failing to bring persons for examination upon entering Canada.

It is alleged that Badwal used his status as a spiritual leader within the South Asian community to assist other South Asians to gain entry into Canada illegally.

Crown sought less than two years jail, while Badwal’s lawyer asked for a conditional sentence.

It was a lengthy and complex investigation that involved undercover officers posing as people who were brought across the border.

On the first sting operations, undercover officers were taken over the border to the McDonald’s at Highway One and 264 Street.

“The aggravating factors in this case include the fact that Mr. Badwal was wily about border security, wire taps and the like because he had years of practice in avoiding detection,” wrote Justice Duncan in her sentencing report.

“I am not sentencing him for anything other than Count 2 of the indictment, but I cannot ignore the fact that Mr. Badwal told Sgt. D. he had been engaged in illegal border evasion activity for decades. That speaks to his moral blameworthiness.”

Badwal didn’t do it for the money, the courts learned.

He charged people money to come to Canada but apparently chose to give away his portion to charity and the rest went to the drivers.

“Badwal was the directing mind of the operation. He co-ordinated drivers, dealt with clients, took payment, distributed money and was the eyes and ears of the operation insofar as border security was concerned,” said the courts.

Badwal has lived at the Gurdwara near the border for years. When he was arrested, $13,000 was recovered in relation to the people getting over the border.

READ: Original Story Here

During the trial, the Crown submitted that Badwal was a highly organized individual who had a network of drivers on both sides of the border to facilitate the surreptitious arrival into Canada of paying customers and the transfer of them to locations away from the border and away from detection.

However, the judge said that Badwal was remorseful and embarrassed by the media coverage of his actions.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Herd of deer camp out in Yennadon front yard

Four bucks and two does rested under the shrubs of a Maple Ridge home Friday

Pitt Meadows technology to help grow leafy greens in Okanagan

Cubic Farms sold 16 of its machines to a company in Armstrong, B.C.

Maple Ridge mom wants justice on two-year anniversary of daughter’s death

Megan Kinnee, 19, died July 13, 2018 after motorcycle crash in Abbotsford

Maple Ridge neighbourhood rallies together for Saturday garage sale

Event aimed to bring Albion residents together – but not too close – while the financially strapped

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Fraser Valley loses the Keith Wilson Waver as Ron Hupper passes away

Hupper brought smiles to the faces of hundreds of people traveling Chilliwack’s Keith Wilson Road

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

Woman sexually assaulted, robbed near Surrey SkyTrain station: RCMP

Police say the incident happened July 10, just after 11 p.m. near King George SkyTrain station

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Once-in-a-lifetime comet photographed soaring over Abbotsford

Photographer Randy Small captures Comet NEOWISE in early-morning sky

Most Read