One sentenced in Cornwall-Massena human smuggling operation

The Cornwall customs facility, south of the intersection of Water Street and Brookdale Avenue, in September 2014. (Photo/Federal Bridge Corp.)

CORNWALL – A Cornwall Island man, caught in a CBSA investigation last year, has been given a prison sentence of just over two years for conspiring to smuggle people into Canada.

Edwin Benedict, 48, was sentenced in a city courtroom earlier this month (June 8).

According to court records, Benedict was given a one year sentence on one charge of conspiracy and a two year concurrent sentence (to run at the same time) for a second conspiracy charge.

He was also given a one year concurrent sentence on drug possession for the purpose of trafficking.

There was also a one day consecutive jail sentence on the books, tipping the balance of sentence to one which would typically be served in a federal penitentiary.

Court has also taken into account 97 days of pre-trial custody, so it’s unclear where Benedict is serving his sentence.

Three other charges were withdrawn at the request of the Crown.

Benedict also has to pay $400 in fines and is banned from owning weapons for 10 years.

He was among four people arrested and charged in December 2016 following an investigation into a Cornwall-Massena human smuggling ring.

Project Oinertia focused on foreign nationals being ferried across the border into Canada at various access points, including Cornwall, St. Regis, Que., and Massena, N.Y.

Three other accused – Huai Li of Garignan, Que., Donald Benedict of Cornwall and Jessica Martin-Conners of Cornwall Island – have their cases still before the court.