Indian man known as ‘Dirty Harry’ charged with smuggling illegals across northern border

Another man charged in the case said he was recruited by Patel "to transport illegal aliens from the U.S./Canadian border in Minnesota to the Chicago area for money."

Photos along the U.S.-Canadian border released by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

An Indian national has been charged in federal court for his alleged involvement in a human smuggling operation that transported illegal immigrants from Canada to the United States.

Harshkumar Ramanlal Patel, 28, was charged with multiple federal crimes for making arrangements to illegally smuggle Indian nationals into the United States via Minnesota’s northern border with Canada. Throughout his apparent criminal activities, Patel went by a series of pseudonyms including “Dirty Harry,” “Harry Patel,” “Param Singh,” “Haresh Rameshlal Patel,” and “Harshkumar Singh Patel.”

Two years ago, a family of four Indian nationals were found frozen to death in Canada just feet away from the Minnesota border. Patel allegedly hired a man named Steve Shand to assist multiple illegal immigrants, including the family of four, in their attempts to illegally enter the United States. Shand was arrested in January of 2022 for his role and is currently awaiting trial.

According to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in the District of Minnesota, Patel is being charged with transportation of an illegal alien in violation of federal law, and “conspiracy to bring and attempt to bring an illegal alien to the United States.”

An affidavit from Manuel Jimenez, a special agent with Homeland Security Investigations, states that authorities found Shand driving a 15-passenger van in Minnesota not far from America’s border with Canada on Jan. 19, 2022. Multiple illegal aliens were apprehended at the scene; all of them were Indian nationals.

The affidavit said there were a number of recent human smuggling events suspected in the area. Further, the affidavit stated, “In each case, a group of people appeared to have walked across the border into the United States and were picked up by someone in a vehicle.”

Most of the illegal immigrants apprehended on Jan. 19, 2022, were from Gujarat, a state in India. One of the Indian nationals who was interviewed said he “paid a significant sum of money (equivalent to approximately 87,000 U.S. dollars) to an organization in India that arranged for him to enter Canada from India under the guise of a fraudulently obtained Canadian student visa and thereafter illegally enter the United States.”

The same Indian national said he expected to be dropped off at his uncle’s residence in Chicago.

A photo of the Patel family released by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Shand was arrested and assisted authorities in tracking down the man who allegedly arranged for these illegal crossings, Harshkumar Patel, who was arrested in Chicago last week.

According to the special agent’s affidavit, a confidential source told officials that Patel “was part of an organized human smuggling group that facilitated illegal entry of Indian nationals into the United States.”

The same source told officials that Patel is an Indian national. The special agent’s statement said cellphone records indicated that Patel was in Florida when Shand was apprehended on Jan. 19, 2022. Shand claimed Patel was managing a gambling establishment in Orange City, Fla., when Patel met Shand.

Furthermore, law enforcement records show that Patel had previously been denied a visa to enter the United States five different times over the course of several years. Patel was living in India when he made the first attempts to get a U.S. visa. However, Patel eventually gained access to Canada and applied for entry to the United States from there. This fifth request was once again denied.

The affidavit signed by the special agent on the case did not confirm an exact date regarding Patel’s entry to the United States. As of Sept. 7, 2023, Patel had “no legal status in the United States.”

According to the special agent’s affidavit, Shand said he was recruited by Patel “to transport illegal aliens from the U.S./Canadian border in Minnesota to the Chicago area for money.” Shand reported to authorities that he made five total trips to transport Indian nationals after they illegally crossed into the United States via the northern border. Previous to his arrest, Shand reportedly dropped off the illegal aliens in the Chicago area.

The Indian nationals Shand transported spoke “little to no English,” according to Shand.

Patel allegedly paid Shand in cash for transporting the illegal immigrants. According to Special Agent Jimenez’s affidavit, Shand said he was paid roughly $25,000 by Patel for his role in the human smuggling scheme. Further, the affidavit said Patel would drop the cash off at Shand’s house via the mailbox, or give the money to Shand’s son.

Information reviewed by Special Agent Jimenez indicated that Patel was preparing to marry Meghaben Kanubhai Patel, a U.S. citizen who was only recently naturalized on Jan. 19, 2023. The warrant for Patel’s arrest was issued just weeks before the two were reportedly scheduled to be married in the Nashville, Tenn., area.

The arrest warrant for Patel was issued on Sept. 7, 2023.


Luke Sprinkel

Luke Sprinkel previously worked as a Legislative Assistant at the Minnesota House of Representatives. He grew up as a Missionary Kid (MK) living in England, Thailand, Tanzania, and the Middle East. Luke graduated from Regent University in 2018.