Fifteen months after the tragic death of a family of four on the Manitoba border in January 2022, accused Rajinder Pal Singh finally pleaded guilty and admitted to receiving more than $5 lakh for coordinating a human smuggling network that moved illegal migrants from Canada to the US.
It may be recalled that on January 19, 2022, the bodies of a 3-year-old boy, his 11-year-old sister and their parents Vishali and Jagdish Patel were found in a snow-covered field, east of Emerson city near Winnipeg.
The 49-year-old Singh, had been living illegally in the US illegally and was earlier convicted in cases relating to bank frauds and forging documents. He admitted to receiving more than $US 500,000 (more than ₹4 crore) for his part in co-ordinating a complex human smuggling ring moving migrants into the United States through Canada.
In October last year, he became a “person of interest” in the Manitoba RCMP investigation into the tragic freezing death of the Patel family on the Canada-US border.
According to a plea in US District Court, Western District of Washington, at Seattle, Singh pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport and harbour certain aliens for profit and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Singh played a key role in the noncitizens smuggling conspiracy,” the plea agreement says, noting that “prior to the unlawful entry of the noncitizens into the United States, Singh would co-ordinate with members of the conspiracy who housed the noncitizens in British Columbia.”
Once they made their way into the US, Singh would arrange pickups through the Uber ride share app. Migrants would often be dropped off at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport first, then another Uber would pick them up and drive them to motels or safe houses around the greater Seattle area. Migrants would be driven or flown to their final destinations around the US, according to the plea agreement.
He used the “Life360” app for their locations, and then arranged pickups through radio cabs. “Singh used over 15 different radio cab accounts with fake identities. He facilitated more than 600 trips of illegal migrants of Indian origin and charged up to $11,000 per person,” the official added.
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