Another Gujarati Arrested in the US: Alleged Involvement in Human Smuggling

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Another Gujarati Arrested in the US: Alleged Involvement in Human Smuggling

| Updated: February 26, 2024 16:09

Another Gujarati Arrested in the US

US authorities have apprehended a man purportedly linked to the smuggling of an Indian family from Dingucha village in Gandhinagar. The arrest took place at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago last Thursday. The individual detained is Harshkumar Ramanlal Patel, who goes by various aliases including “Dirty Harry” and “Param Singh.” Patel is suspected to have played a role in the tragic demise of the Dingucha family, who perished near southern Manitoba two years ago while attempting an illegal border crossing from Canada into the US.

According to sources, Patel, hailing from Gujarat, faces charges related to the unlawful transportation of individuals into the US. The victims, Jagdish Patel (39), his wife Vaishali (37), and their children Vihangi (11) and Dharmik (3), froze to death near Emerson on January 19, 2022, while endeavoring to cross into the US.

It’s alleged that Patel collaborated with Steve Shand, another individual implicated in the smuggling operation. Shand, 49, was previously arrested after border agents discovered him in northern Minnesota with two Indian nationals in a rented van on the same day the Patels were found deceased.

Authorities claim that Shand, known to Patel through their involvement in gambling, recruited Patel to assist in transporting Indian nationals illegally across the border into Minnesota. Shand had reportedly conducted multiple smuggling trips between December 2021 and January 2022, receiving $25,000 from Patel for his services prior to his apprehension.

Evidence presented by US authorities includes WhatsApp messages exchanged between Shand and Patel. These messages, believed to be crucial evidence, depict Shand instructing Patel to ensure that the individuals are adequately dressed for severe weather conditions, just before 1 am on the day the Patels were discovered deceased. Patel responded affirmatively. Later that morning, Patel inquired about Shand’s situation, to which Shand responded that he was still stranded.

Meanwhile, in Gujarat, three individuals—Yogesh Patel, Bhavesh Patel, and Dashrath Chaudhari—have been arrested in connection with the Dingucha case. They face charges including culpable homicide not amounting to murder, attempted culpable homicide, human trafficking, and criminal conspiracy.

Additionally, it’s been reported that Gujarat police will seek custody of Fenil Patel, who allegedly assisted Jagdish Patel and his family in reaching the border during adverse weather conditions two years ago.

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