Couple to be sentenced for harbouring 5 immigrants who died

By , on December 5, 2017


Aerial view of Downtown Detroit with the Riverfront (Photo By Robert Thompson - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0)
Aerial view of Downtown Detroit with the Riverfront (Photo By Robert Thompson – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0)

DETROIT — Prosecutors say the former owners of a Detroit-area restaurant deserve seven years in prison for the deaths of five immigrants who didn’t escape a house fire.

A teenager and four men from Mexico were in the U.S. illegally, working at a restaurant owned by Roger Tam and wife Ada Mei Lei. The immigrants died in 2016 while living in the basement of a home also owned by the couple.

Tam and Lei will be sentenced Tuesday for harbouring immigrants. They could face years in prison if a federal judge believes they recklessly created a high risk of death.

Defence lawyers say the government is overreaching. They say the basement wasn’t a “death chamber” but was finished with two bedrooms, a kitchen and living area. The house recently sold for $300,000.