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2 Indian Nationals Arrested For Allegedly Smuggling People Into The U.S. Since 1998

by Czarelli Tuason / Nov 04, 2015 09:53 PM EST
Newark Liberty International Airport. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

Two Indian nationals were arrested on Oct. 21 at the Newark Liberty International Airport from allegedly smuggling people into New Jersey from Thailand under conspiracy with an undercover federal agent, reported ABC News in their article Oct. 22.

Harsad Mehta and Nileshkumar Patel were held into custody after appearing before a judge on Thursday for charges of smuggling and conspiracy.

The Homeland Security Investigations undercover agent allegedly met with Patel and Mehta several times in Bangkok since April of last year and was paid $35,000 to $50,000 to smuggle six Indian nationals into New Jersey without legal clearance to enter the U.S.

Prosecutors reported that Mehta was involved in four of the six smuggling cases, while Patel was involved in all of them.

According to Newark Patch, the complaint emerged from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) investigation initiated two years ago in June.

The DHS reportedly received information of Mehta and Patel's illegal acts, which pushed them to assign an undercover agent to pose as a smuggler and meet with the two Indian nationals in Bangkok.

To facilitate the smuggling of foreign nationals, Mehta and Patel paid the undercover agent $40,000 per person with a $10,000 down payment for each to help them smuggle the people into the U.S. through commercial airline flights. The two accompanied the undercover agent in the flight to Newark.

Authorities allegedly brought the illegal immigrants to a local hotel and contacted a man who claimed to be the immigrants' uncle through phone. A man arrived at the hotel to pay the undercover agent a partial sum and left with the immigrants.

The remaining sum for the smuggling job was given by Mehta and Patel to the undercover agent over the next few days.

Over the succeeding months, Mehta and Patel reportedly smuggled many Indian nationals to the U.S in the same manner.

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