Manitoba border deaths may be part of larger human smuggling operation: documents
U.S. agents have launched an investigation into a larger human smuggling operation after a family of four froze to death while attempting to cross into the United States from Canada near Emerson, Man. during a blizzard.
Court documents obtained by CTV News provide new details into the investigation and arrest of 47-year-old Steve Shand, a resident of Deltona, Florida. Authorities believe the deaths of the four people are linked to a larger smuggling ring.
"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," special agent John Stanley with the United States Department of Homeland Security said in a sworn affidavit
Stanley said the area is known by U.S. Border Patrol as a high incident area for human smuggling.
According to the court documents, there have been three separate incidents of human smuggling at the same location of Shand's arrest.
The affidavit said one of the border patrol agents had seen boot prints in the snow made by three people who crossed the border in the area on Jan 12. The boot prints were made by the same brand of boots worn by the group of five who were arrested.
Two previous incidents of human smuggling are believed to have happened on Dec. 12 and Dec. 22 – with two groups of four believed to have walked across the border into the U.S. before being picked up by someone in a vehicle, according to the court documents.
DETAILS ON SHAND'S ARREST
According to the affidavit, Stanley said he was informed by Border Patrol Agents Shand – a suspected smuggler of undocumented foreign nationals – had been arrested around 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
The affidavit said Shand was arrested less than a mile south of the border driving a white 15-passenger van with two "Indian nationals who were illegally present in the United States."
There are no records of Shand lawfully crossing the Canada-U.S. border.
Stanley said he was told a group of five Indian nationals were also found and arrested about the time and near the place of Shand's arrest. The five people had new identical cold weather gear, which matched some of the gear Shand had also with him.
One of the surviving foreign nationals, a woman, was airlifted to a hospital and will likely require partial amputation of one hand due to exposure, according to court documents.
“The female also stopped breathing several times while being transferred by Border Patrol,” the court documents read.
Another surviving foreign national, a male, was hospitalized for suspected frostbite, but later released.
GROUP DROPPED OFF IN CANADA, BECAME SEPARATED DURING WALK ACROSS THE BORDER
"The group of five Indian nationals found after Shand's arrest had walked across the border expecting to be picked up by someone on the U.S. side, according to one of the five, whose name was V.D.," the affidavit reads.
V.D. told border patrol agents they had walked about one kilometre south from where they were dropped off in Canada, and had been walking for about 11 and a half hours, according to the court documents.
He had been carrying a backpack containing children's items, which he said belonged to a family that had been walking with his group earlier.
"V.D. said that his group had become separated from the family during the night, and he did not know where the family was," the affidavit reads.
FOUR PEOPLE, INCLUDING BABY, FOUND FROZEN TO DEATH NEAR BORDER
Manitoba RCMP discovered the frozen bodies– a man and woman with a baby, and a boy believed to be in his mid-teens – on Wednesday afternoon. RCMP said it is believed the four people died due to exposure to the cold weather.
Court documents said the bodies have been tentatively identified as the family of four that had been separated from V.D.'s group.
In the affidavit, Stanley said one of the foreign nationals told border patrol agents he had paid a significant amount of money to enter Canada from India under a fraudulently obtained student visa, with the intention to illegally enter the United States.
"He had crossed the border into the United States on foot and had expected to be picked up by an individual who would drive him to his uncle's residence in Chicago," the court documents read.
Shand is facing human smuggling charges, though he is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court.
CTV News will update the story.
Winnipeg Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Lifeline for woman with disabilities approved for medically assisted death after 'mind-blowing, inspiring' support
The police official blamed for not sending officers in more quickly to stop the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting is the chief of the school system's small police force, a unit dedicated ordinarily to building relationships with students and responding to the occasional fight.
Russia asserted Saturday that its troops and separatist fighters had captured a key railway junction in eastern Ukraine, the second small city to fall to Moscow's forces this week as they fought to seize all of the country's contested Donbas region.
The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos was met with justifiable criticisms and unfounded conspiracy theories.
Federal Conservative leadership candidate Patrick Brown says calling social conservatives 'dinosaurs' in a book he wrote about his time in Ontario politics was 'the wrong terminology.'
Speakers at the National Rifle Association annual meeting assailed a Chicago gun ban that doesn't exist, ignored security upgrades at the Texas school where children were slaughtered and roundly distorted national gun and crime statistics as they pushed back against any tightening of gun laws.
An 11-year-old survivor of the Robb Elementary School massacre in Uvalde, Texas, feared the gunman would come back for her so she smeared herself in her friend's blood and played dead.
The Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling allowing the Quebec City mosque shooter to be eligible for parole after 25 years is raising concern for more than a dozen similar cases.
A seven-person civil jury in Virginia will resume deliberations Tuesday in Johnny Depp's libel trial against Amber Heard. What the jury considers will be very different from the public debate that has engulfed the high-profile proceedings.
Cyber security attacks happen every day, and as Regina Public Schools division discovered this week, no one is safe.
'Very upset': Senior housing residents plead for Sask. Housing Corporation to rebuild after winter fire
Former residents of a Carievale seniors housing complex want the Saskatchewan Housing Corporation (SHC) to reconsider its decision to demolish the home.
Premiers from western Canada met to discuss healthcare in their first face-to-face meeting in more than two years in Regina on Friday at the 2022 Western Premiers' Conference.
Barrett Ross says his dog Indy suffered a punctured bowel, lost a tooth and had his stomach injured when he was attacked by three other dogs.
The Saskatoon Tribal Council's (STC) temporary downtown shelter has been granted an extension to operate at its present location until April 2023 — but Tribal Chief Mark Arcand hopes to relocate well before then.
A pedestrian injured by a vehicle in Prince Albert has died.
Thursday evening, the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce hosted the 25th annual Bell Business Excellence Awards.
On Friday, there was a walk in Sudbury to remember the remains of 215 residential schoolchildren found in Kamloops, B.C., a year ago May 27.
Staff at the new Sault Metis Centre are getting set for the grand opening Saturday.
A hotly-controversial decision on whether or not to freeze base funding for police in Edmonton was delayed Friday as fallout from a dispute between the mayor and the provincial justice minister continued to rattle political circles.
A 19-year-old man is in police custody after a shooting near Rogers Place after an Edmonton Oilers viewing party ended Thursday evening.
A shelter many expected to remain open until the end of June in Wetaskiwin, Alta., will close a month early.
WATCH | New video appears to show man carrying air rifle on Toronto streets before being killed by police
A man shot dead by police officers near a Toronto elementary school on Thursday afternoon appears to have been captured on home security footage carrying an air rifle moments before the incident.
A 21-year-old Toronto man is facing a slew of charges following a suspected hate-motivated incident at a Jewish school in North York.
Toronto Pearson International is warning travellers and Mississauga residents they may notice unusual activity at the airport this weekend.
A southern Alberta man who killed three people, including a two-year-old girl, could have the ability to request a release from jail earlier than his original sentence intended, thanks to a landmark Supreme Court decision Friday.
Calgary Flames fans are still coming to terms with a playoff series loss to the Edmonton Oilers Thursday night in a game that saw both controversy and heartbreak following a Connor McDavid overtime goal.
Western Canada's premiers want to reform their health-care systems by expanding services but they say Ottawa first needs to pick up the phone.
Is it unconstitutional to make someone pay to get a legal document translated into French? One of Montreal's top lawyers thinks so, and pointed out two other things from Bill 96 that he thinks the courts would most easily find fault with.
A man in his 80s is fighting for his life after being pulled out of the St. Lawrence River by a fellow resident who saw his vehicle had become submerged.
A large ship carrying chemical products ran aground during its passage through the St. Lawrence Seaway early Friday morning, backing up maritime traffic as tugboats tried to dislodge it.
Hydro Ottawa is not committing to a new deadline to restore power to thousands of customers, one week after a devastating storm with wind gusts of 190 km/h hit Ottawa.
A Hydro One spokesperson says some people living in remote parts of rural eastern Ontario could be waiting weeks to have power restored after last Saturday’s devastating and deadly storm.
It's the first in-person Ottawa Race Weekend in Ottawa since 2019, after the 2020 and 2021 events were shifted online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Cape Breton father is warning the public of the dangers in the area he lives after his teenager son fell nearly 40 feet over a cliff in Glace Bay.
A lawyer for families of victims killed in the Nova Scotia mass shooting says an 18-hour delay in finding five bodies of those murdered is a sign of "deficient" policing.
The lawyer who represented a man who murdered three RCMP officers nearly eight years ago in Moncton, N.B., said a decision made by the Supreme Court of Canada Friday may potentially change his sentence.
A man, who was a referee at high school volleyball games in Guelph for more than 30 years, is facing sex assault-related charges.
The Region of Waterloo says there's a high safety risk at a Kitchener encampment and they are working with residents to prepare them for their eventual move.
Two low-cost airlines are butting heads over an agreement at the Region of Waterloo International Airport. Swoop wants to offer flights but the airport already has an exclusivity deal with rival Flair Airlines
A B.C. mom with a rare, debilitating illness has spent years trying to get the help she needs. Now she's considering medical assistance in dying.
The number of COVID-19 patients in B.C. hospitals hit its lowest point in more than a month this week, and the decline was driven largely by regions outside the Lower Mainland.
Researchers working in partnership with UBC believe an eco-friendly material could help solve the world’s plastic pollution problem.
B.C. speedboat driver arrested with 650kg of meth 'feared for his family's safety,' he told U.S. investigators
New details are emerging after a 51-year-old Alberta man was arrested aboard a speedboat that U.S. authorities say was carrying 650 kilograms of methamphetamine between Washington state and British Columbia.
The emergency department at Port McNeill Hospital unexpectedly shut down on Friday evening due to a staffing shortage.
At least one building was destroyed Friday afternoon as firefighters rushed to a large fire at the vacant Pioneer Square Mall in Mill Bay, B.C.