A resident of Ahmedabad was convicted in a human smuggling case by a US court in July 2019. After serving a year-long sentence, he returned to India only to resume his illegal business, said investigators probing human smuggling rackets in the state. Bhavin Patel’s name has now cropped up in the Dingucha case in which four of a family froze to death while crossing illegally to the US from Canada last January.
On Friday, the city crime branch booked Bhavin, along with his aides Jasmin Patel and Ronak Soni, for forging documents and using fake stamps on documents to procure visas.
According to an official statement of the Department of Justice, US Attorney’s Office in the district of New Jersey, Bhavin Patel – a resident of Ghatlodia in Ahmedabad – was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison for his role in an international conspiracy to smuggle foreign nationals into the United States via commercial airline flights.
Bhavin’s aide, Atul Patel, who runs a tour operating firm from a commercial building on Ashram Road, was also involved in the case.
The New Jersey district court had pronounced the verdict after Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) probed and established that Bhavin had been ferrying people into the US on cargo planes from Bangkok in Thailand since 2013.
After serving his sentence, Bhavin returned to Ahmedabad.
He came in touch with Mahendra Patel, the elder brother of Jagdish Patel from Dingucha in Gandhinagar. Bhavin and Atul were part of the cartel that forged documents and sent Jagdish, his family, and seven others to Canada. While the Dingucha residents entered on visitor’s visas, the seven others had student visas. Bhavin and Atul had also coordinated with other human smugglers to help these migrants cross from Canada into the US.
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