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Man Nicknamed 'Dirty Harry' Arrested over Deaths of Family of 4 Who Froze to Death Entering U.S. from Canada

Authorities discovered the family frozen to death just 30 feet from the U.S.-Canada border in January 2022

<p>Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Manitoba</p> Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Manitoba

Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Manitoba

Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Manitoba

Two years after a family froze to death trying to enter the United States from Canada, the man who allegedly recruited their smuggler has been arrested and charged in their deaths.

Harshkumar Ramanlal Patel — who is known by his nickname “Dirty Harry,” according to authorities — was arrested last Wednesday in Chicago and charged with human smuggling crimes, according to The Associated Press, CBC, and CBS News.

Patel, 28, allegedly hired a driver to make several human smuggling trips across the U.S.-Canada border between December 2021 and January 2022, one of which turned deadly, authorities say.

Patel is accused of hiring Steve Shand to drive several groups of migrants across the border. Patel allegedly paid Shand, who is from Florida, a total of $25,000 to make several smuggling trips over the two-month period. (Shand has pleaded not guilty to human smuggling charges; his trial is scheduled for March 25, according to the AP.)

<p>Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Manitoba</p> Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Manitoba

Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Manitoba

Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Manitoba

The Justice Department alleges that Shand, 47, was arrested on Jan. 19, 2022 after police stopped him in his white, 15-passenger van while he was attempting to smuggle two Indian nationals across the border. According to CBS, police spotted five other people – later identified as five other undocumented Indian nationals – walking through the snow nearby.

Police stopped the group and found childcare supplies in one of the man’s backpacks, learning that another group had been traveling with them but became separated from them overnight.

<p>Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Manitoba</p> Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Manitoba

Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Manitoba

Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Manitoba

The family of four – Jagdish Patel, 39, Vaishaliben Patel, 37, and their children, 11-year-old Vihangi, and 3-year-old Dharmik – was then found frozen to death in a nearby area that was just 30-feet from the U.S.-Canada border. Patel and the victims have no relation despite sharing a last name, according to CBC.

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Investigators discovered WhatsApp messages between Patel and Shand that allegedly show them communicating about smuggling people over the border, including one message in which Patel allegedly warns Shand: “Make sure everyone is dressed for blizzard conditions please.”

CBS reports that Minnesota was experiencing dangerously cold weather at the time with temperatures in the northern part of the state feeling like 29 degrees below zero amid a wind chill advisory.

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