Border Smuggling Operation Faces Charges in Death of Indian Family

Deltona, Florida – A Florida resident, Harshkumar Patel, is facing serious charges related to the deaths of an Indian family who tragically froze to death while attempting to cross the Canada-U.S. border back in January 2022. The incident occurred near the U.S.-Canada border in Manitoba, where the family lost their lives.

The U.S. federal prosecutors have recently indicted two individuals in connection with this heartbreaking incident. Steve Shand from Deltona, Florida, and Harshkumar Ramanlal Patel, an Indian citizen residing in Florida, are the two men named in the superseding indictment filed in U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota.

The unfortunate event unfolded as U.S. border patrol agents apprehended Shand and two migrants in a 15-seater passenger van near Emerson, Manitoba, in January 2022. Shortly after, five more migrants were discovered walking down the same snowy highway. Tragically, on that same day, the frozen bodies of Jagdish Patel, his wife Vaishali, and their two young children were found in Canada, just meters away from the U.S. border.

Harshkumar Patel, who is not related to the deceased family, is now facing multiple charges, including conspiracy to transport aliens causing serious bodily injury and placing lives in jeopardy, aiding and abetting the transport of aliens, as well as transportation of aliens for private financial gain.

Shand, on the other hand, was indicted on four charges related to the same incident. He had previously faced two counts of human smuggling charges in February 2022 in connection with the migrants found in the van.

Recently, Patel was taken into custody at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport before being transferred to Minnesota. Official documents allege that Patel recruited and paid Shand to meet and transport migrants once they crossed the border into the U.S. Patel is currently detained in a Sherburne County jail, awaiting arraignment.

Investigators have revealed details of communication between Patel and Shand, indicating a coordinated effort to facilitate the smuggling operation. Allegations suggest that Patel managed a gambling establishment in Florida and communicated extensively with Shand regarding logistics and payments.

The ongoing investigation has shed light on the intricate network involved in the smuggling operation, with Patel and Shand playing key roles in orchestrating the transportation of migrants across borders.

The arrests of Patel and Shand mark significant developments in the case, with no other individuals in North America facing charges directly related to the tragic deaths of the Patel family. While efforts to bring justice continue, the impact of this incident resonates across borders, highlighting the dangers and complexities of human smuggling operations.