Indian admits to smuggling immigrants to US

Wednesday 20th March 2019 03:00 EDT

New Jersey: An Indian national arrested last December for conspiring and smuggling foreign nationals into United States recently pleaded guilty. Bhavin Patel, 38, admitted to the charges against him, in the district court of New Jersey before District judge, John M Vazquez. He accepted that he did it for financial gains.

Each substantive smuggling charge carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison. On December 7, 2018, special officers of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), arrested Patel at the Newark Liberty International Airport. HSI learned that Patel was running a smuggling operation, in which Indian nationals and others were recruited to pay fees in exchange for passage to the US.

In October'13, the undercover law enforcement agent, posing as a smuggler, met Patel in Bangkok, Thailand. Patel told him that he wanted to smuggle Indian nationals to the US and agreed to pay tens of thousands of dollars per individual. The law enforcement officer would then presumably use his contacts to get those people on commercial planes to US in three different occasions.

In the following months, Patel arranged for six Indians to smuggle to the US via the Newark International Airport from Thailand on commercial flights. His luck ran out and he was arrested last year.

Department of Justice said, "He's charged by indictment with one count of conspiracy to bring in and harbor aliens and six counts of smuggling foreign nationals into the United States." Patel pleaded guilty to all the charges against him in front of the US District Judge in New Jersey. The potential sentence in conspiracy charge is maximum 10 years of prison and up to $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for July 9.

comments powered by Disqus

to the free, weekly Asian Voice email newsletter