DELTONA, Fla. - A Florida man was charged Thursday with human smuggling after the bodies of four people, including a baby and a teenager, were found in Canada near the U.S. border in what authorities believe was a failed crossing attempt during a freezing blizzard.
Jane MacLatchy, from the Manitoba Royal Canadian Mounted Police, said the victims all froze to death just yards away from American soil.
"These victims faced not only the cold weather but also endless fields, large snowdrifts, and complete darkness."
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said the four victims and seven other people, all from western India, had flown to Canada and were trying to cross illegally into the United States. Two of the survivors were taken to the hospital for serious injuries.
On the morning of January 19, 2022, Manitoba RCMP officers with the Integrated Border Enforcement Team received concerning information from their counterparts in the United States. [Courtesy: RCMP Manitoba]
"These individuals, including an infant, were left on their own in the middle of a blizzard," MacLatchy said, "when the weather hovered around minus 35 degrees Celsius."
Homeland Security officials said they were trying to rendezvous with Steve Shand, a 47-year-old Volusia County man, who was waiting for them in a van on the U.S. side, in North Dakota.
Steve Shand, 47, of Deltona, Florida, is charged with human smuggling after the bodies of four people, including a baby and a teenager, were found in Canada near the U.S. border in what authorities believe was a failed crossing attempt during a freez
A Department of Homeland Security report states that Shand was born in Jamaica and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2010. It does not state how he became connected with the alleged smuggling operation.
Investigators arrested Shand and said he is not cooperating with law enforcement. They believe Shand is part of a larger human smuggling operation that may have also helped illegal aliens across the border two other times, this past December. They said one of the survivors had entered Canada on a fraudulent student visa and was trying to get to relatives in Chicago.
Shand's Deltona neighbors expressed shock over the allegations against Shand.
"Man, that's wild," said Eduardo Albarran. "I had no idea that was going on. A very pleasant man, but never had much interaction with him."
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