Seven Indian citizens who entered the US illegally and were apprehended at the US-Canada border last week will be returned to India after being released from the custody of the US Border Patrol.
Six of the seven Indian nationals were placed on an Order of Supervision, while one was freed on an Order of Recognisance for humanitarian reasons, according to the statement.
The seven Indian citizens, who were apparently from Gujarat, were detained by US police near the US-Canada border last week. Steve Shand, 47, was arrested on suspicion of people smuggling.
Shand was apprehended on January 19 in a remote location between the official ports of entry in Lancaster, Minnesota and Pembina, North Dakota, less than one mile south of the US-Canadian border.
He was driving a 15-passenger van and transporting two Indian nationals who were unlawfully present in the United States.
While Shand and the two passengers were being escorted to the Pembina Border Patrol Station in North Dakota, law enforcement saw five other Indian nationals around quarter-mile south of the Canadian border walking in the direction of where Shand was apprehended. Border agents apprehended all seven Indians.
The five Indian nationals told officials that they had strolled across the border from Canada hoping to be picked up by someone.
Later that day, on January 19, Canadian officials discovered the four Indian nationals’ bodies in Emerson, Manitoba, around 12 metres from the Canada-US border.
Canadian police confirmed the victims’ identities, and autopsies were conducted on January 26.
According to a statement issued Thursday by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Manitoba has verified that the cause of death was exposure.