Seven Indians to be deported after busting of human smuggling racket near Canada-U.S. border

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Relatives of Jagdish Baldevbhai Patel, who along with his wife and their two children froze to death on U.s.-Canada border last week, gather to mourn in Dingucha village in Gujarat Jan. 28, 2022. Photo Amit Dave Reuters.

Seven Indian nationals, who entered the US illegally and were arrested near the US-Canada border last week, will be deported to India after they were released from US Border Patrol’s custody. “All seven migrants who illegally entered the United States last week were administratively processed for removal and/or placed into removal proceedings as per the Immigration and Nationality Act,” according to a statement by the US Customs and Border Protection.

“All the migrants have been released from Border Patrol’s custody” and ordered to report to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement at a later date, the statement added.

he seven Indian nationals, reportedly from Gujarat, were apprehended last week by US authorities near the US-Canada border. Steve Shand, 47, has been charged with human smuggling, PTI news agency said.

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Shand was arrested on January 19 less than one mile south of the US-Canadian border in a rural area between the official ports of entry located at Lancaster, Minnesota and Pembina, North Dakota. He was driving a 15-passenger van and was transporting two Indian nationals, who were present in the US illegally.

While Shand and the two passengers were being transported to the Pembina Border Patrol Station in North Dakota, law enforcement encountered five additional Indian nationals approximately a quarter-mile south of the Canadian border walking in the direction of where Shand was arrested. All seven Indians were then arrested by border authorities.

The five Indian nationals told authorities that they had walked across the border from Canada expecting to be picked up by someone.

The group said it had been walking around for over 11 hours. One of the group members was carrying a backpack that did not belong to him.

He told authorities that he was carrying the backpack for a family of four Indian nationals that had earlier walked with his group but had become separated during the night.

The backpack contained children’s clothes, a diaper, toys, and some children’s medication.

Later during the day on January 19, Canadian authorities found the bodies of the four Indian nationals near Emerson, Manitoba, approximately 12 metres from the Canada-US border. Authorities had said that the family included an adult male, adult female, teen male and infant. But it is now revealed the victims included a young girl and not a teen male.

The dead family members have been identified as Jagdish Baldevbhai Patel, 39, Vaishaliben Jagdishkumar Patel, 37, Vihangi Jagdishkumar Patel, 11 and Dharmik Jagdishkumar Patel, 3.

Identities of the victims were confirmed by Canadian authorities and autopsies were completed on January 26.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Manitoba has confirmed that the cause of death was due to exposure, a statement from Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said Thursday.

The police complaint against Shand said that all the seven nationals arrested “spoke Gujarati, a language spoken in Gujarat in western India. Most had limited or no English language speaking ability.”

 

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