Suspected Smuggler Was Aware Of The Snowy Conditions Before An Indian Family Froze To Death At The Canadian Border

( – When people enter the United States illegally, they often seek help from someone who can help smuggle them across the border. However, doing so can lead to dangerous situations, such as a family of four that froze to death back in 2022. Now, two men are facing charges in the case.

The driver, Steve Shand, who allegedly attempted to bring the family of four across the border in 2022, was arrested two years ago. But the man who hired him, Harshkumar Ramanlal Patel, also known as “Dirty Harry,” was only recently charged with seven counts of human smuggling.

Patel was arrested in February in Chicago, on a sealed warrant, and is in the country illegally. He has been denied a US visa, which he applied for at US Consulates in Ottawa, Canada, and in India. According to Fox News, unsealed court papers have connected Patel to being part of a human trafficking group that reportedly helped get Indian nationals into the US from India. They would obtain student visas for the nationals in Canada, and then smuggle them to Chicago. Those who made it into the US would then have to work for low wages to pay off the debts—soaring into the tens of thousands—they owed smugglers.

The family of four that was found dead in January 2022, had reportedly been walking toward the border in Emerson, Manitoba, when they froze to death. The conditions that day were snowy and cold. Temperatures at the time were below zero degrees Fahrenheit.

Authorities found messages from Shand to Patel, where he asked him to make sure “everyone is dressed for the blizzard conditions, please” because “we are not losing any money.” The messages establish that the two were aware of the frigid conditions they had the victims traveling in by foot. Sadly, the family of four, Jagdish and Vaishaliben Patel, and their two small children, 11-year-old Vihani and 3-year-old Dharmik, passed away before they ever made it to the States.

Patel and Shand have both pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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