2022: Delhi Police Nabbed 12 Gujarat Links In US Illegal Immigration Racket

| Updated: January 9, 2023 2:08 pm

The death of a family of four across the U.S.-Canada border while trying to get into the U.S. illegally in January 2022 brought to the surface the rampant human trafficking rackets operating in parts of Gujarat. 

It prompted Gujarat police to launch a probe into the activities of local agents who illegally send families to the U.S. and Canada charging huge sums. Over last year, the CID (Crime) anti-human trafficking branch took to investigating the networks of agents operating in the state. The system routes its “consignments” through the Canada border or the more circuitous Tukey-Mexico route. Closely trailing the case, the Delhi Police is reported to have booked nearly 12 human smugglers in 20 illegal immigration cases, involving 40 people. 

The number includes three from Ahmedabad, two each from Gandhinagar, Valsad and Kheda and one each from Patan, Jamnagar and Valsad. In 2021, of the seven booked for the same crime, six were from Mehsana. 

Further, it seems the tragic end of the Patel family did little to deter others in Dingucha village in north Gujarat, a region where migrating to U.S. or Canada remains the first priority among the Patel community. Unconfirmed reports gathered by investigating agencies peg the number of such aspirants to 4,900 in 2022. 

An investigating officer shared: “A family pays anywhere between Rs 75 lakhs to Rs 1 crore per person for the deal. The sum is all inclusive: flight tickets, stay during transit, sim cards and other requirement.” The agents usually map the road to the US via Canada or through the Turkey-Mexico route. 

“Sometimes, the prospective immigrant is sent on a shorter trip to Dubai or Malaysia just to show officials that the person is wander-struck. Then comes the planned move,” shared the officer.

Interestingly, while the Delhi Police have nabbed 12 human smugglers as a fallout of the tragedy last year, the Gujarat Police’s success rate has been three, including kingpin, Bobby Patel. 

The police believe that probably a large group of people had walked for hours in extremely cold conditions with temperatures hovering around -35°C to the U..S.-Canada border. The Patel family might have lost their way and separated from the large group during the night.

Subsequently, their bodies were found just 10m from the U.S. border on the Canadian side.

On Sunday, Gujarat’s former Deputy Chief Minister and prominent Patidar leader Nitin Patel said that people were leaving from the country in search of better opportunities abroad.

“Since the craze is high to go abroad without a valid visa, there are network of agents who promise them illegal entry by charging huge sums. Unfortunately, no one come forward to file the complaint since it’s entirety illegal,” a police official said.

He added that in Gujarat such network of agents operates in Mehsana and Gandhinagar districts in north Gujarat, Anand and Nadiad in central Gujarat and a few pockets in Saurashtra region from where large number of Patidars have settled in the U.S. and Canada.

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