Four people, including two adults, a teen and an infant, froze to death during their attempt to enter the United States illegally. This happened about 40 feet from the US-Canada border between North Dakota and Emerson, Manitoba.
Four People Frozen To Death As They Attempt To Cross The US-Canada Border
US Customs and Border Protection and Department of Homeland Security officers performed a traffic stop on a 15-passenger van last January 19.
They found two undocumented Indian nationals inside the vehicle. Less than a quarter of a mile away from the border, the officers apprehended five additional Indian nationals who walked across the US border from Manitoba.
According to the US Justice Department, one member of the traveling party carried a backpack containing children’s clothes and toys.
He said that he carried the backpack for a family traveling with their group. However, they got all separated the night before when they traveled to the border.
Four Bodies, Including Infant, Found Frozen to Death On The Canadian Side of the US-Canada Border
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, in coordination with US border police, began search operations on both sides of the border. Eventually, they found the frozen bodies of four individuals on the Canadian side.
They consisted of an adult male, an adult female, a teenage male, and an infant. Canadian authorities found the bodies frozen.
US officials concluded that the group is an undocumented family hailing from India. They suspect that the family attempted to cross the border illegally into the US.
Manitoba Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy announced the news Thursday.
“What I am about to share is going to be difficult for many people to hear,” she said, calling it “an absolute and heartbreaking tragedy”. According to the apprehended travelers, the border crossing took 11 hours. Two of the party members had to be sent to a hospital to treat serious injuries. Manitoba winters are very cold.
The temperature in the area was measured minus 13 degrees Fahrenheit last Wednesday. Crossing the border on foot at this time is an extremely dangerous thing to do.
Van Driver Arrested
Authorities arrested Steve Shand, an American from Florida, who drove the van. According to the DOJ officials, he will be charged with assisting an alien to enter the United States illegally.
Authorities accosted Shand when they caught him driving a 15-person van in a rural area. Police also found cases of food and water in his boot. The two passengers with him did not have any immigration documents with them when apprehended.
Shand made his first court appearance last Thursday, He will be due back in court next Monday. Authorities are holding him in custody in Grand Forks County, North Dakota.
As of today, the bodies of the victims remain unidentified. Officials will perform an autopsy to determine the actual cause of death of the victims. In addition, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said it will continue sweeping the area to find if people are illegally crossing the border.
Watch the CBC News: The National video reporting that a family of four found frozen to death near U.S. border, human smuggling arrest made:
What do you think of this latest attempt to cross the border illegally? Do you think that the risks involved were worth getting entry into the US?
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