Quebec woman sentenced in Cornwall-Massena human smuggling operation

In this Sunday, June 11, 2017, file photo, traffic lines up at the CBSA port of entry in Cornwall, Ont. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – A Quebec woman has been found guilty of conspiring to smuggle foreign nationals across the Cornwall-Massena border.

Huai Guo Li, 60, of Carignan, Que. was sentenced last week to three years in prison for her role in the human smuggling operation. She was also fined $400.

Li had originally been charged with three counts of conspiracy under the Criminal Code of Canada and another charge of aiding or abetting illegal entry into Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

She had pled guilty in June to one or more of the conspiracy charges, according to court records. The other charges were withdrawn by the Crown.

Law enforcement agencies with Project Oinertia arrested and charged four people in October 2016 after executing search warrants on homes in Quebec and Ontario.

Their seven month investigation has looked into human smuggling in both directions in Cornwall, St. Regis, Que. and Massena, N.Y.

Three other accused in this case were also before the courts.

Edwin Benedict, 48, of Cornwall Island was sentenced in June.

Donald Benedict, 45, of Cornwall was making a court appearance in Alexandria today (Sept 25.). His case on two counts of conspiracy is expected to go to trial.

A conspiracy charge against Jessica Martin-Conners, 44, of Cornwall Island was withdrawn.