Akwesasne to get $12M in funding after recent deaths of migrant families


The federal government is announcing funding to help the Akwesasne Mohawk Territory fight organized crime, after the death of eight migrants in the St. Lawrence River earlier this year.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino is in the community Thursday where he’s announcing more than $12 million in funding for policing and other initiatives over the next five years.

The money includes a $10.4-million funding renewal to help the Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service fight organized crime, as well as separate amounts for new police equipment and for community groups working to prevent violence.

The announcement comes after the bodies of eight Indian and Romanian migrants were pulled from the St. Lawrence River in late March following what police said was a failed attempt to cross illegally into the United States by boat.

Authorities have described Akwesasne as a popular spot for human smuggling due its geography, which straddles the borders between Quebec, Ontario and New York state.

Police last month suspended their search on the water for 30-year-old local man Casey Oakes, who was last seen operating the boat that was later found next to the bodies of the two migrant families.

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