WASHINGTON, D.C. – A Jordanian national was arrested Saturday for his role in a scheme to smuggle Yemeni nationals across the U.S. southern border from Mexico. Moayad Heider Mohammad Aldairi, 31, residing in Monterrey, Mexico was taken into custody upon his arrival at JFK International Airport.
He will face a criminal complaint issued in the Western District of Texas.
On May 29, an arrest warrant was issued alleging that in the later half of 2017, Aldairi conspired with others to smuggle 6 Yemeni nationals across the U.S. southern border in exchange for a fee.
“Aldairi allegedly smuggled six Yemeni citizens across the Mexican border and into the United States,” Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski, of the DOJ Criminal Division, said. “Alien smuggling puts our national security at risk, and the Criminal Division is dedicated to enforcing our immigration laws and disrupting the flow of illegal aliens into the United States.”
On Monday, Aldairi found himself before U.S. Magistrate Judge Marilyn D. Go in the Eastern District of New York for an initial appearance. Judge Go ordered that he be held pending transfer to the Western District of Texas for further criminal proceedings.
“The arrest of Aldairi showcases HSI’s unique ability to coordinate investigative efforts across international boundaries with multiple countries and different agencies throughout the U.S. Government,” said Special Agent in Charge Shane M. Folden of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) San Antonio.
HSI Jordan and the U.S. Embassy of Jordan have and are assisting in the investigation. The office of U.S. Attorney John F. Bash of the Western District of Texas will handle the case. It will be prosecuted by Trial Attorney James Hepburn of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Watters of the Western District of Texas.
“Attacking the leader/organizers of illicit international pathways for aliens from certain countries of interest will always be a priority of HSI,” Special Agent in Charge Folden added.
The Justice Department said in their press release that “charges contained in the complaint are merely allegations and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.”