A man has been charged with people smuggling after a family of four was found frozen to death.
The man, from Florida, had attempted to smuggle Indian nationals – including a baby – and four were found in a horrendous state just a few yards from the Canadian border with America.
Steve Shand, 47, was arrested by police, when he was found driving a 15-seater van, which had two Indian citizens in it – neither of whom had any documentation.
Five other Indians were found on foot heading towards the vehicle, and one of those had a backpack with baby-related items in it.
This belonged to the family who were later found frozen after they had become separated from the group.
The family, and the baby, were found by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Assistant commissioner Jane MacLatchy said: “It is an absolute and heartbreaking tragedy. These victims faced not only the cold weather but also endless fields, large snowdrifts and complete darkness."
One of the other members of the group had to have part of her hand amputated due to frostbite, while another was taken to hospital but later released, court documents state.
The weather the group had faced was around -35C and authorities have confirmed that the family died from exposure to the cold – they were outside for about 11 hours.
The man accused of attempting to smuggle them into America will be in court on Monday.
He is also thought to be linked to two other cases of human trafficking from last year.
John Stanley, a special agent with Homeland Security Investigations, said: “The investigation into the death of the four individuals in Canada is ongoing along with an investigation into a larger human smuggling operation of which Shand is suspected of being a part.”
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