US and Canadian border agents recovering bodies, some still alive after human smuggling operation goes wrong.

Officials say that Steve Shand was planning to smuggle 11 Indian nationals from Kittson County

Officials say that Steve Shand was planning to smuggle 11 Indian nationals from Kittson County where he had planned to pick them up. When he was stopped and arrested in St. Vincent, he had two unauthorized immigrants in the van with him. Shand was driving a 15-passenger van when U.S. Border Patrol in North Dakota stopped him Wednesday. At about the same time that was happening, law enforcement had spotted five other people not far away. The five Indian nationals told law enforcement that they had been walking for more than 11 hours and court documents filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota say that the family that was in the van spent a considerable amount of money to get to Canada with a fake student visa.

“The investigation into the death of the four individuals in Canada is ongoing along with an investigation into a larger human smuggling operation of which Shand is suspected of being a part,” a Homeland Security special agent said.

A 47-year-old man from Florida, Steve Shand is charged with smuggling human beings after four dead bodies were recovered at the Canadian border. A baby and a teenager are included in the deceased and the investigation is still underway. It is thought that Shand is part of a larger operation and it is thought that the dead bodies were part of a family of seven Indian nationals headed for the United States.

A border marker between the U.S. and Canada stands just outside of Emerson, in Manitoba. (John Woods / Canadian Press)

One of the men taken into custody was hospitalized for frostbite. A woman stopped breathing more than once on the way to the hospital. One of her hands will be amputated. Another man that was carrying a backpack filled with baby supplies said that it belonged to a group that somehow got separated during the night. Jane MacLatchy, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Assistant Commissioner says that they are searching the nearly impassable terrain near Emerson, Manitoba for more people.

Officers found a teenage boy not far from where they found a man, a baby, and a woman just ten yards from the border near Emerson, Manitoba. It is believed that they all died from exposure to the frigid weather. MacLatchy said that they were wearing winter clothing, but not enough to save them in freezing weather, “It is an absolute and heartbreaking tragedy. These victims faced not only the cold weather but also endless fields, large snowdrifts and complete darkness”. The temperature hit 10 degrees below zero Fahrenheit and wind chills were 30 below zero.

Minding Hearts is building advocacy and peer support groups in each state.  The groups are created to raise awareness, educate, and advocate for those that might not otherwise be heard. We are here for encouragement, education, and support. We cannot give legal advice, but we can try and direct you in the right direction with your case. Links to legal services are listed with their states. Please share and let’s grow our groups. We are here to support families and develop resources that maintain family integrity. We look forward to your support. If you would rather become active by donating, then visit the donation page.

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