Canadian federal police on Wednesday charged a Sri Lankan national with human smuggling for organizing travel for hundreds of Tamils aboard a rickety cargo ship to Canada, where they claimed asylum.
A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Thayakaran Markandu, who is currently believed to be living abroad, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said in a statement.
"We are continuing to work with our international law enforcement partners to locate and arrest him," RCMP Superintendent Derek Simmonds said. "Once he is in custody we can begin the process of having him extradited to Canada to stand trial."
Canadian border officials detained 492 Tamils who arrived in August 2010 aboard the ship MV Sun Sea. Another 76 were arrested in 2009 when they arrived on Canada's west coast aboard another freighter, the MV Ocean Lady.
Canada and Sri Lanka alleged that the Sun Sea and Ocean Lady migrants may have included members of the Tamil Tigers, outlawed in Canada as a terror group before their defeat in 2009 after a lengthy civil war.
A conviction for organizing illegal entry into Canada carries a potential penalty of life imprisonment or a $1,000,000 fine, or both. (AFP)