Indian American Bhavin Patel has been charged with six counts of smuggling foreign nationals into the U.S. through commercial airline flights and one count of conspiracy to bring in and harbor aliens.
According to court documents, the conspiracy started in October 2013, when an undercover law enforcement officer posed as a smuggler and began meeting with Patel in Bangkok, Thailand.
Patel then told the undercover officer that he wanted to smuggle Indian nationals into the U.S., and Patel or his conspirator transported the Indian nationals to an airport in Thailand, where the undercover officer would purportedly use his contacts to smuggle them into the U.S. via commercial airline flights, PTI reported.
Patel also agreed to wire down payments for each smuggled individual and pay for them once they arrived in the United States, the court documents said.
In total, six people were illegally brought into the U.S. in pairs on December 13, 2013; April 10, 2014 and October 2, 2014, via Newark Liberty International Airport, according to an NJ.com report.
Patel was arrested at Newark Liberty International Airport on Friday, December 7; if convicted he could face a maximum potential sentence of 10 years in prison along with five years in prison for each smuggling charge.