Six Indian nationals, aged 19-21 years, were arrested by the US border authorities after they were apprehended on a sinking boat during a failed attempt to be smuggled into America from Canada.
The US Customs and Border Protection said in a statement Thursday that with assistance from the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Police Department, the Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service, and the Hogansburg-Akwesasne Volunteer Fire Department (HAVFD), U.S. Border Patrol agents from the Massena Border Patrol Station apprehended seven individuals in connection with a failed smuggling attempt.
Six of the subjects, all ranging from ages 19 to 21 years old, are citizens of India and have been charged with Improper Entry by Alien in violation of US law. The seventh subject, a United States citizen, was charged with Alien Smuggling, which is a felony and carries a penalty of a fine and up to 10 years in prison for each violation.
Chief of Police Matthew Rourke of the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Police Department cooperation between law enforcement and rescue services prevented what could have been a “horrific tragedy”.
“I emphasize that human smuggling is illegal and poses a significant danger to the Akwesasne community. We don’t know the intentions or vaccination status of smuggled individuals, but more importantly, the time and resources spent in a rescue effort unnecessarily risk the lives of our first responders and our already strained emergency response services,” he said.
Cautioning that the situation could have been “catastrophic”, Massena Station’s Patrol Agent in Charge Wade Laughman said “human smuggling is not only a crime but extremely dangerous. Smugglers do not care about safety or human life; they only care about profits.”
January this year a family of four Indians – Jagdish Baldevbhai Patel, 39, Vaishaliben Patel, 37, Vihangi Patel, 11 and Dharmik Patel, 3 – were found dead near Emerson, Manitoba, approximately 12 metres from the Canada/US border.