Police in India said they arrested two men on human trafficking and other charges in connection with the deaths of a family of four who froze while trying to illegally migrate across the Canadian border into the United States a year ago, according to a report published by the Canadian Press.
Deputy Commissioner Chaitanya Mandlik, of the Ahmedabad crime branch in the state of Gujarat, told the Canadian Press that the pair are being charged with acting as immigration agents to give the victims papers helping them get to the U.S. The media outlet reported that Mandlik said the men are accused of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, attempt at culpable homicide, human trafficking and criminal conspiracy.
Mandlik told the Canadian Press the probe found that conspirators in Canada and America worked with agents in India.
The victims found dead at a border crossing Jan. 19, 2022, were Jagdish Patel, 39, his wife, Vaishaliben Patel, 37, and their children, Vihangi Patel, 11, and Dharmik Patel, 3. The family was found in the snow on the Canadian side, about 6 miles east of Emerson, Manitoba.
A U.S. Border Patrol officer stopped a passenger van in a rural area south of the border between Lancaster, Minn., and Pembina, N.D., and found two unauthorized Indian nationals and a Florida resident named Steve Shand inside. Five more survivors were discovered on foot nearby. One man had children's clothing, diapers and toys in a backpack. After finding no child in the group, authorities began a search and found the Patel family's bodies about four hours later.
Shand was indicted on human smuggling charges and faces trial in Fergus Falls on April 17.