SAN DIEGO, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- A Muslim cleric deported from Canada to Tunisia allegedly tried to sneak into the United States from Mexico in the trunk of a BMW, court documents charge.
Said Jaziri, who had been deported from Canada for lying on his immigration papers, was found in the trunk of a car belonging to Kenneth Robert Lawler of San Diego by U.S. Border Patrol Agents.
Court documents say he allegedly paid $5,000 to a Tijuana, Mexico, smuggling ring to get him to a "safe place anywhere in the U.S.," the Los Angeles Times reported.
Jaziri, 43, was the imam of a mosque in Montreal and supported Shariah law for Canadian Muslims. He also led demonstrations against the Danish publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed. Jaziri was deported three years ago following a long legal battle for allegedly failing to disclose he had a criminal conviction in France when he applied for refugee status in Canada in the 1990s.
Lawler was charged with immigrant smuggling and was held at the San Luis Detention Facility near Yuma, Ariz., on $25,000 bond, attorney Wayne Charles Mayer said. Jaziri was held as a material witness against Lawler.