Six Indian nationals, aged 19-21 years, were arrested by the US border authorities after they were apprehended on a sinking boat during a failed attempt to be smuggled into America from Canada.
The US Customs and Border Protection said in a press release, “Six (6) of the subjects, all ranging from ages 19 to 21 years old, were citizens of India and charged with Improper Entry by Alien in violation of 8 USC 1325.”
The seventh subject, a United States Citizen, was charged with Alien Smuggling in violation of 8 USC 1324. Alien smuggling is a felony, which carries a penalty of a fine and up to 10 years in prison for each violation, the release read.
The US Customs and Border Protection said in a statement that on April 28, suspicious activity was reported to the Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service, which notified the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Police Department about a boat containing multiple subjects traveling from Canada near Cornwall, Ontario; toward the United States.
The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Police Department responded and observed the vessel taking on water and sinking in the Saint Regis River in Akwesasne. Answering the call for assistance, Border Patrol agents and the Hogansburg-Akwesasne Volunteer Fire Department (HAVFD) arrived on the scene to find the reported vessel almost entirely underwater. One of the subjects exited the sinking boat and made his way to the shoreline. The HAVFD deployed a boat and was able to recover the other six (6) distressed subjects. It was later determined there were no life jackets or other safety equipment on board the sinking boat.
Due to the water temperature being just above freezing, all seven (7) subjects were evaluated and treated for hypothermia by medical professionals. Upon their release, they were arrested by Border Patrol agents and transported to the Border Patrol Station for processing.
“Outstanding cooperation between law enforcement and rescue services prevented what could have been a horrific tragedy,” said Chief of Police Matthew Rourke of the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Police Department.