Duo charged after Eastern Europeans land in Shelburne

Police have laid charges against two Ukrainian nationals they say were attempting to smuggle Eastern Europeans into Nova Scotia.

Police have laid charges against two Ukrainian nationals they say were attempting to smuggle Eastern Europeans into Nova Scotia.

Vasyl Aksenin, 26, And Mykola Tyshkivskyy, 46, were charged with organizing the illegal entry of persons into Canada yesterday.

Aksenin and Tyshkivskyy were aboard the ship Valletta, which was picked up by the Coast Guard ship Earl Grey on the evening of June 19. The Valletta was escorted into Shelburne, where RCMP conducted a search of the ship. The search turned up eight Eastern European passengers — five women and three men — in addition to the two accused.

It is believed that the individuals on the vessel paid a significant amount of money to come to Canada, said Staff Sgt. Alan Harding.

Police are releasing few other details.

They won’t say the nationality of the passengers, who owns the vessel, or why the Earl Grey was tasked with intercepting the ship.

“That is part of our ongoing investigation,” said Harding.

Andrew LeFrank, district director for Canada Border Services, said all of the passengers were in good health when police found them.

“All of the individuals were in good health, and that’s obviously one of our main concerns,” said LeFrank.

LeFrank said he could not say where the passengers were as of yesterday.

“I can’t speak to exactly where those individuals are, but I can tell you that we have completed processing the eight that have been seeking to come in to Canada,” said LeFrank. He added the passengers will be assessed on an individual basis as to whether they’ll be admitted or sent back to Europe.

Aksenin and Tyshkivskyy have been remanded into custody until their next court date. If convicted, they could face a maximum $500,000 fee and up to 10 years in prison.

 
 
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