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Afghan citizen living in NJ accused of smuggling people into US

Afghan translator lends a helping hand to an Afghan boy (Sgt. Amanda Hils/WikiCommons)

A former U.S. military interpreter from Afghanistan living in Newark and New York was indicted Friday on charges he helped smuggle people into the United States from his home country.

Mujeeb Rahman Saify, 32, faces three criminal counts related to a smuggling network that brought two people to the United States through fraudulent documents and roundabout air travel through the Middle East and South America, said Craig Carpenito, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey.

Saify worked with three people, including a travel agent based in Peshawar, Pakistan, to bring people to the U.S. from Afghanistan illegally between July 2016 and February 2017, authorities said.

One of the two seeking to enter the U.S. had also worked as an interpreter for the military in Afghanistan, but was fired after supervisors learned he was involved with a foreign intelligence service and was a security risk, authorities said. He applied for a U.S. visa after being fired in 2014 but was denied, authorities said.

Saify charged about $6,000 and asked for their Afghan passports and photos to help design fake documents, authorities said. They were smuggled to the U.S. as Peruvian or Bolivian citizens, authorities said. Saify flew to Dubai in October 2016 with one of the two people, and printed out their fake passport at the airport there, authorities said.

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Saify entered the U.S. on a special immigrant visa and became a permanent resident in 2009. He was released in February when he posted a $100,000 bond after being charged.

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© 2019 NJ Advance Media Group