Seven other people from the group have been found alive by U.S. Border Patrol.
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After two adults, a teenager and an infant were found dead at the Canada-U.S. border by Manitoba RCMP, a Florida man has been arrested and charged in the U.S. with human smuggling.
Following the announcement from RCMP about the discovery of four deceased people, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minnesota revealed that Steve Shand, a 47-year-old American citizen, was arrested on January 19 when U.S. Border Patrol initiated a traffic stop near the border.
Shand was driving a 15-passenger van in a rural area between the official ports of entry in Lancaster, Minnesota and Pembina, North Dakota.
Officers found that two passengers in the van were undocumented Indian nationals.
They also found plastic cups, water bottles, bottled juice and snacks at the back of the van along with receipts for the food and rental agreement receipts for the van in Shand's name.
U.S. Border Patrol arrested Shand for smuggling undocumented foreign nationals.
He is 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."
Very proud of our #BorderPatrol agents who thwarted a smuggling attempt and rescued 5 people from the extreme cold weather. Tragically additional members of the group were found deceased in Canada by the #RCMP. Read more on our Facebook Page: https://bit.ly/32iVZB3\u00a0pic.twitter.com/9O8gH7GKKk— Chief Patrol Agent Anthony S. Good (@Chief Patrol Agent Anthony S. Good) 1642725553
According to police, while Shand and the two passengers were being transported to a border patrol station, law enforcement officers found five more Indian nationals less than a kilometre south of the Canada-U.S. border.
They were said to be walking in the direction of where Shand was arrested.
The people told police that they had walked across the border and were expecting to be picked up by someone. They believed they had been walking for more than 11 hours.
As Manitoba RCMP previously reported, one person was found with a backpack that had items meant for an infant but there was no infant in the group.
Court documents said that one of the group members found by U.S. Border Patrol said he was carrying the backpack for a family of four that had been walking with their group but got separated in the night.
Yesterday, #rcmpmb officers with the Integrated Border Enforcement Team received concerning info from their counterparts in the US. The US Customs & Border Protection officers had apprehended a group of individuals who had crossed into the US from Canada, just south of Emerson.pic.twitter.com/fQngJEk1Ma— RCMP Manitoba (@RCMP Manitoba) 1642700930
Later on January 19, U.S. Border Patrol was alerted by RCMP that "four bodies were found frozen" on the Canadian side of the border.
"The dead bodies were tentatively identified as the family of four that was separated," the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minnesota said.
Manitoba RCMP said it's believed that they died due to exposure to the cold weather.
Two of the surviving people in the group found in the U.S. were seriously injured and had to be transported to a hospital.