Indians’ death in brutal cold: US man held for transporting 2 Indians freed from jail without bond


A Florida man, charged with human smuggling, has been released from prison conditionally and without paying a bond, days after he was found illegally transporting two Indians in America and four other Indian nationals were found frozen to death in Canada near the US border.

Steve Shand, 47, was arrested last week and charged with one count of having transported and moved or having attempted to transport aliens who entered, or remained in the United States in violation of law.

Shand, who made his first appearance on January 20 before US District Court Magistrate Judge HildyBowbeer of Minnesota, was ordered to remain in custody pending a preliminary and detention hearing scheduled for January 24.

A report in the Grand Forks Herald newspaper in the US state of North Dakota, said that Shand, who participated in the hearing virtually, was granted a conditional release pending trial at the pretrial and detention hearing.

The report said that he will remain in detention until he is sent back to Florida.

“Throughout the 30-minute hearing, Shand made no significant statements, only replying “yes ma’am” or “yes your honour” as Bowbeer listed the conditions of his release,” the report said.

“The fact that you are living in Florida is not an excuse” to not appear at any hearing, Bowbeer told Shand, who replied “Yes ma’am.”

The report said that Shand was released on the so-called appearance bond, “solemn written oath” to appear before the court whenever hearings are held or when his trial begins.

He will also need to report to prison if found guilty in the case, the report said.

“Under the conditions of release, Shand must surrender his passport or any similar travel document or visa. He must have no contact with anyone who may be considered a witness or victim in his human smuggling case.

“He will be supervised by a probation and pretrial supervisor in Florida, and he was ordered not to travel far from his home, though he is allowed to travel to Minnesota, should he be required to appear in person. Later hearings may take place either online or in person,” it said.

The appearance bond also forbids Shand from violating other state or federal laws and Bowbeer warned that Shand would have to deal with the “snowballing set of consequences, all of them bad” if he did so, the report said.

Shand was transporting two undocumented Indian nationals in his van when he was apprehended less than one mile south of the US/Canadian border in a rural area between the official ports of entry located at Lancaster, Minnesota and Pembina, North Dakota. While Shand and the two passengers were being transported to the Pembina Border Patrol Station in North Dakota, law enforcement encountered five additional Indians approximately a quarter mile south of the Canadian border walking in the direction of where Shand was arrested.

The five Indians told authorities that they had walked across the border expecting to be picked up by someone.