A 38-year-old Indian national has been arrested on charges of smuggling foreign nationals into the US for private financial gain, according to Department of Justice.
Bhavin Patel is charged by indictment with one count of conspiracy to bring in and harbour aliens and six counts of smuggling foreign nationals into the US via commercial airline flights, New Jersey US Attorney Craig Carpenito said on Monday.
He is scheduled to be arraigned on December 18, 2018, before US District Judge John Michael Vazquez.
Arrested by special agents of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) on December 7, at Newark Liberty International Airport, Patel if convicted faces maximum potential sentence of 10 years in prison.
Each substantive charge of smuggling carries a maximum potential sentence of five years in prison.
In its court papers, HSI said that its beginning in October 2013, an undercover law enforcement officer posing as a smuggler began meeting with Patel in Bangkok. Patel told the undercover law enforcement officer that he wanted to smuggle Indian nationals into the US.
On three occasions, Patel or his conspirator transported the Indian nationals to an airport in Thailand, at which point the undercover law enforcement officer would purportedly use his contacts to smuggle them into the US via commercial airline flights.
Patel agreed to wire down payments for each individual to be smuggled into the US and to pay a balance of tens of thousands of dollars for each individual once the foreign nationals arrived in the United States, HSI alleged in its court papers.
Over the ensuing months, Patel arranged for six Indian nationals to be brought to Thailand for smuggling into the United States via Newark Liberty International Airport, HIS alleged.