The TTP, a coalition of militant groups based out of Pakistan's lawless tribal areas, is a key ally of al-Qaida. It was designated by the U.S. State Department as a foreign terrorist organization in September 2010.
Irfan Ul Haq was arrested in Miami in March last year and charged with one count of conspiracy to commit alien smuggling along with two other Pakistani men, Qasim Ali and Zahid Yousaf. The three men pleaded guilty in September 2011 to one count of conspiracy to commit alien smuggling. On December 21, Ali was sentenced to 40 months in prison, and Yousaf, to 36 months.
The men were part of an alien smuggling ring operating out of Quito, Ecuador. The men had agreed to smuggle a fictitious person tied to the TTP into the United States as part of a government sting operation carried out by the Homeland Security attaché office in Quito, with the FBI and the Ecuadorian National Police.
According to court documents, the defendants were fully aware that the TTP was a terrorist organization and allegedly told government confidential sources that it was "not their concern" what the men "want to do in the United States—hard labor, sweep floor, wash dishes in hotel, or blow up. That will be up to them." The defendants also accepted monetary compensation from the confidential sources for the smuggling operation and acquired a fake Pakistani passport for the fictitious TTP operative, court documents said.
"Today's sentence successfully brings to a close our prosecution of three criminals who aimed to use their human smuggling network to help a person who they believed to be a terrorist infiltrate our homeland," U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen, Jr. for the District of Columbia said in Department of Justice statement announcing the sentence.
"By convicting three Pakistani nationals who were operating out of Ecuador, we have demonstrated our ability to dismantle human smuggling operations throughout the world when they threaten our national security," he added.