Two of the seven Indian nationals, illegally present in the US and who were arrested near the US-Canada border, have sustained serious injuries from “suspected frostbite” and one woman will require partial amputation of a hand from exposure to extreme cold weather conditions, according to a court document.
A criminal complaint was filed on Thursday in the US District Court for the District of Minnesota against 47-year-old US citizen Steve Shand, who has been charged with human smuggling.
Shand, a “suspected smuggler of undocumented foreign nationals” was arrested near the US-Canadian border on January 19 for transporting two Indian nationals, who were illegally present in the US.
The two Indian nationals have been identified as ‘SP’ and ‘YP’ in the complaint.
The complaint also states that five Indian nationals “illegally present” in the United States were also identified and arrested around the time Shand was arrested.
“Six of the seven arrested foreign nationals were present at the Pembina Border Patrol station” in North Dakota and “one of the foreign nationals was hospitalised for cold injuries.” The complaint also added that two of the seven Indian nationals arrested “sustained serious injuries.” “A male adult and female adult were taken to the hospital for suspected frostbite. The male was later released from the hospital, but the female was life-flighted to a larger hospital and will likely require partial amputation of one hand from exposure to extreme cold weather conditions. The female also stopped breathing several times while being transported by Border Patrol,” it said.
Authorities have said the weather in the area was severe, with high winds, blowing snow and temperatures well below sub-zero. “The area is also known by Border Patrol as a high incident area for human smuggling,” it said.
A family of four Indian nationals, including an infant, froze to death along the US-Canada border in what authorities believe was a failed crossing attempt during a freezing blizzard.
Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy, Commanding Officer of the Manitoba Royal Canadian Mounted Police, said at a press conference that RCMP officers discovered the bodies of three individuals – an adult male, adult female and an infant – on the Canadian side of the border.
Fearing there may be additional victims, officers continued their search and located the body of another male, believed at this time to be a teen.
The five Indian nationals told authorities that they had walked across the border expecting to be picked up by someone.
The group said they had been walking around for over 11 hours. One of the group members was carrying a backpack that did not belong to him.
He told authorities that he was carrying the backpack for a family of four Indian nationals that had earlier walked with his group but had separated during the night.
The backpack contained children’s clothes, a diaper, toys, and some children’s medication.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)