Nearly a year after chilling details of four persons of a family freezing to death while illegally crossing over to the USA from Canada came out, the Ahmedabad Crime Branch arrested two agents in connection with the incident.
Manitoba Royal Canadian Mounted Police had discovered the bodies of Jagdish Patel (39), his wife Vaishali (37), daughter Vihangi (11), and son Dharmik (3) near Emerson, Manitoba, about 12 meters from the Canada-USA border.
DCP (Crime) Chaitanya Mandalik said Bhavesh Patel (30), hailing from Palsana village in Kalol, and Yogesh Patel (42), from Vastrapur in Ahmedabad, have been charged with culpable homicide. They were arrested on Saturday.
According to the initial investigation, the duo had sent 11 persons, including four of a family, hailing from Dingucha in North Gujarat, to illegally enter the USA.
The police have declared Fenil and Bittu Paaji (their real names are not known) as wanted. They were helping the migrants to enter the USA. The police are also searching for the agent who was to help them in legal matters in the USA.
Eleven persons, the majority of them hailing from North Gujarat, had reached on different flights to Toronto and then travelled to Vancouver. They were to cross the border from Winnipeg.
Attempts are also being done to ascertain if they used fake documents to reach Canada.
Mandalik said for each individual, the agents were to get Rs 65 lakh. The agents have been active for nearly a decade.
The DCP said the victims were told to walk in -35 degrees temperature to evade arrest. The accused have been arrested based on human intelligence and technical surveillance.
According to Mandalik, the family had expressed reluctance to cross the border in the extreme conditions but were told that this was their last chance. They were told that the weather conditions would offer them an ideal cover.
The death of the Patel family had not only exposed the unholy nexus of agents but also the eagerness of people to make it to the USA despite adverse circumstances.
About three months after the death of Patel family in January 2022, six men from Gujarat nearly drowned while crossing the border. They were rescued by the US and Canadian police. The six people had with them forged IELT certificates of high scores.