Frozen Bodies Found Near Canadian Border After Florida Man Arrested for Human Smuggling

Four bodies were found in Canada, near the border with the U.S. after a Florida man was arrested for human smuggling on Wednesday.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office in the District of Minnesota, on Wednesday, U.S. Border Patrol officials stopped a 15-passenger van less than one mile south of the Canadian border, between ports of entry in Lancaster, Minnesota, and Pembina, North Dakota.

The driver of the vehicle was identified as Steve Shand, 47, and officials determined two passengers in the van were undocumented Indian nationals. Border patrol officials later "arrested Shand for smuggling undocumented foreign nationals," prosecutors wrote.

Prosecutors added that while Shand and the passengers were being transported to a border patrol station in North Dakota, law enforcement officials "encountered five additional Indian nationals approximately a quarter-mile south of the Canadian border walking in the direction of where Shand was arrested."

The five people said "they had walked across the border expecting to be picked up by someone," the U.S. Attorney's Office stated. They estimated they had been walking for 11 hours. One of the members of the group said that he was carrying a backpack—which contained diapers, clothes and toys—for a family of four Indian nationals who had been separated from the group overnight, according to prosecutors.

Later that day, U.S. Border Patrol learned from Canadian officials that four bodies had been found frozen "just inside" the Canadian side of the border.

"The dead bodies were tentatively identified as the family of four that was separated. Two of the surviving Indian nationals sustained serious injuries and were transported to a hospital," the prosecutors said.

 Frozen Bodies Found Near Canadian Border
Four bodies were found in Canada, near the border with the U.S., after a Florida man was arrested for human smuggling on Wednesday. Here, people wait to cross a toll bridge to cross the border into the United States at the Thousand Islands Border Crossing in Lansdowne, Ontario on November 8, 2021. Andrej Ivanov

According to the CBC, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the bodies of a man, woman, baby and teenager were found in a Manitoba field on Wednesday.

"I can assure you that the search for any possible survivors or additional victims continued throughout the evening [Wednesday] and our officers continued to patrol the area today," RCMP Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy told reporters on Thursday, according to the CBC.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said later on Thursday that they had completed their search and found no other survivors or victims.

According to prosecutors, Shand has been charged with one count of "knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien had come to, entered, or remained in the United States in violation of law, having transported, and moved or having attempted to transport and move such aliens."