By Andrea Sands,
Saeed Ibrahim Jama, 23, of Edmonton was recently listed as one of the Canadian Border Service Agency’s top 30 most wanted. He has been apprehended and is being held in custody to be deported to Somalia. Photo courtesy of the Canadian Border Services Agency.
EDMONTON (Edmonton Journal) – A convicted drug dealer apprehended this week by a new Edmonton police traffic team will be held in custody until he is deported to Somalia, immigration authorities decided Friday.
Saeed Ibrahim Jama, 23, was on the Canadian Border Services Agency’s top 30 most wanted list when he was picked up Wednesday during an unrelated traffic stop in northeast Edmonton.
Jama was arrested on a Canada-wide warrant for staying in Canada illegally. He appeared Friday afternoon at an immigration hearing in Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, where he asked the hearing to send him home.
“I don’t mind going back home. Can you guys just send me back home to Somalia,” said Jama, who did not have a lawyer and had his ankles shackled. “I want to go back home to Somalia.”
Jama has been in custody since Wednesday, when police sent their specialized traffic apprehension teams (STAT) to targeted areas of the city, said Staff Sgt. Barry Maron.
The STAT teams that stop vehicles and check for traffic and other violations were established in July. More officers are being added to build a total of five STAT teams.
“We end up stopping lots of people,” Maron said. “The purpose of the STAT team is, rather than just stopping people, writing tickets and letting them go, they dig a little deeper. They make sure they run (names of) people to look for warrants, to look for suspended drivers … If they can smell or see drugs or other contraband, they’re dealing with that stuff.”
The team made arrests in October on 127 warrants and wrote more than 3,000 tickets, Maron said. “We think the STAT teams have been very successful. These teams are out all the time so we’re going to start identifying criminals regularly.”
Jama was riding with two other men in a vehicle STAT officers stopped in the Beverly neighbourhood on Wednesday. “All three males were arrested on warrants and Jama originally lied about his name so he was arrested for obstruction,” Maron said. “He was then taken to north division station where they did some investigation and learned his true identity. They called the Canada Border Services Agency.”
At Friday’s immigration hearing, Canadian Border Services Agency hearings officer Mandeep Randhawa argued Jama should be held in custody until he is deported in about two weeks.
Jama moved to Canada in August 2001 with his parents and six brothers and sisters, said Randhawa. Jama was ordered deported one year ago because he had been convicted in October 2010 and sentenced to 27 months in prison for possessing a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking.
In July, Jama did not show up at the airport for his deportation or contact the Canada Border Services Agency, Randhawa said.
Jama has a history of failing to comply with court orders, Randhawa said.
“He lied to the Edmonton Police Service. He had undergone laser surgery to remove his tattoos to avoid detection by Canada Border Services Agency and the police. He appears to still be involved in drug trafficking and be an Edmonton member of the street gang, African mafia,” said Randhawa.
Edmonton police told immigration authorities that, after Jama was arrested, “he received many phone calls and texts that, in their opinion, are consistent with that of a drug trafficker” including a phone call related to cocaine, Randhawa said.
Immigration and Refugee Board adjudicator Leeann King decided Jama will be held in custody until he is removed from Canada.
“I am satisfied today that you are unlikely to appear for removal if released,” she said.
Jama is entitled to another review of his detention in a week.