‘Dirty Harry’ smuggled Indian Family that died near US Border

A man known as ‘Dirty Harry’ has been arrested for allegedly smuggling an Indian family that died near the US-Canada border.

'Dirty Harry' smuggled Indian Family that died near US Border f

"Make sure everyone is dressed for the blizzard."

A man has been arrested for smuggling an Indian family who froze to death near the US-Canada border in 2022.

Harshkumar Ramanlal Patel, who also goes by the alias Dirty Harry has been charged in US federal court in the District of Minnesota for transportation of an illegal alien and conspiracy.

The Patel family, who are of no relation, died of exposure on January 19, 2022, while attempting to cross illegally into Minnesota, USA, near Manitoba, Canada.

The frozen bodies of Jagdish Patel, his wife Vaishali and their children Vihangi and Dharmik were found 12 metres from the US border.

Harshkumar Patel allegedly managed a gambling establishment in Florida and recruited alleged smuggler Steve Shand.

Shand is already awaiting trial in Minnesota for transporting illegal migrants.

On January 19, 2022, US border agents arrested Shand and two migrants in a rented 15-seater passenger van on a snowy highway in Minnesota.

Five other migrants were caught walking down the same highway shortly after.

Text messages between Patel and Shand allegedly showed evidence of how he facilitated the smuggling of the Patel family on the US side of the border.

On the evening of January 18, Shand texted Patel:

“Make sure everyone is dressed for the blizzard.”

Patel texted back: “Done.”

Shand replied: “We not losing any money.”

Patel allegedly provided Shand with GPS coordinates to a location near the US-Canada border and two phone numbers of contacts in Canada.

During a March 9, 2022, interview with a US Homeland Security investigator, “Shand described five total trips he had made to the international border in Minnesota in December 2021 and January 2022 to transport Indian nationals”.

He also said “he has made a total of approximately $25,000 US in smuggling proceeds” working for Patel.

For the smuggling of the Indian family, it is alleged Shand was paid $2,900 in cash from Patel up front and another $5,000 after the job was done.

Another alleged smuggler was linked to the Indian family’s death.

It was revealed that Fenil Patel is facing charges in Gujarat of culpable homicide and human smuggling.

According to an affidavit, convicted human smuggler Rajinder Pal Singh identified Fenil Patel during an interview with Homeland Security investigators after his arrest as one of the people involved, saying he arranged the trip for the family that died.

According to the affidavit:

“Singh stated that [Fenil] Patel arranged the trip for the family that died in Manitoba, Canada, on Jan 19, 2022.”

“Singh stated that [Fenil] Patel currently resides in Toronto, Canada.”

Singh was convicted of human smuggling in May 2023 and jailed for 45 months.

After Singh’s arrest, US investigators had surveillance of Singh discussing possibly moving migrants through Manitoba.

The wiretapped conversations took place in January 2022 around the same time the Patel family was being moved from the Greater Toronto Area to the remote border area south of Winnipeg.

Harshkumar Patel was previously in Canadian custody in 2018, held by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA).

He was released with the expectation that he would cross into the United States illegally. However, it is unclear when he re-entered the US.

Court documents say Patel unsuccessfully tried four times to obtain a student visa to the US.

Applying from various consulates in India, Patel tried to convince consular officials he wanted to study in the US but his application was not deemed credible.

In 2016, Patel was in Canada and went to the US Consulate in Ottawa attempting to get a visitor visa to go to New York.

He claimed to be a business management student at St Lawrence College in Kingston, Ontario.

Patel was denied a US visa for a fifth time.

Investigators believe he then crossed into the US illegally three months later and may have returned to Canada again sometime in 2018 when he ended up in CBSA custody.

Patel has a detention hearing set for February 28, 2024.

Shand’s jury trial is scheduled to start on March 25.

Dhiren is a News & Content Editor who loves all things football. He also has a passion for gaming and watching films. His motto is to "Live life one day at a time".

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