Photo: IENS

New York: A total of six Indian nationals have been arrested by US law enforcement after they were apprehended on a sinking boat in a frozen river during an unsuccessful attempt to enter the WE From Canada. The entire episode that happened on April 28 appears to be a case of people smuggling operation.

The six people arrested were between the ages of 19 and 21 and were charged with ‘irregular entry by a foreigner’, reports Hindustan time.

The six Indian nationals were identified as NA Patel, DH Patel, NE Patel, U Patel, S Patel and DA Patel in court documents while the seventh was a US citizen, Brian Lazore. He was accused of Alien smuggling.

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The Mohawk Police Department of Akwesasne in upstate New York, USA, received a report of this as “suspicious activity” by Canadian law enforcement. They passed on information regarding a boat carrying ‘multiple subjects’ on the St. Regis River, traveling from Cornwall in the province of Ontario.

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Subsequently, the information was shared with the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Police Department, which “observed the vessel taking on water and sinking in the Saint Regis River at Akwesasne,” reported Hindustan time.

“Border Patrol and HAVFD (Hogansburg-Akwesasne Volunteer Fire Department) agents, called to assist in the matter, arrived on scene and found the reported vessel almost entirely underwater,” according to a statement issued by the United States Customs and Border Protection (USCBP).

One of seven aboard the sinking vessel managed to swim to shore while firefighters rescued the other six, who appeared to be “in distress”.

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Officials said there were no life jackets or other safety equipment on board the sinking boat, the Hindustan time report.

Subsequently, all seven were “assessed and treated” by medical professionals for hypothermia since the water temperature was just above freezing. They were arrested by Border Patrol agents after their release.

Meanwhile, a Canadian media report said at least one of the six may have only arrived in the country a week before attempting the border crossing.