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Florida man pleads not guilty after Canada-U.S. human smuggling tragedy in Manitoba

Last Updated May 26, 2023 at 9:59 am MDT

Steve Shand is seen in an undated handout photo at the Grand Forks County Correctional Center, in North Dakota. Shand, arrested in January 2022 after the bodies of four people were found near the Canada-US border near Emerson, Man, pleaded not guilty Friday to human smuggling charges. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Grand Forks County Correctional Center, *MANDATORY CREDIT*

DULUTH, Minn. — A Florida man has pleaded not guilty to human smuggling charges after the frozen bodies of a family of four migrants were found near the Canada-U.S. border last year. 

Steve Shand, 48, entered the plea today via videoconference as part of his long-delayed arraignment in Duluth, Minn. 

Shand faces one count each of bringing people into the U.S. illegally and of transporting them inside the country. 

He was arrested in January 2022 in a remote area of northern Minnesota, where border agents encountered him with two Indian nationals in a rented passenger van. 

Just over the border, near Emerson, Man., RCMP officers discovered the bodies of four people authorities believe froze to death while trying to slip into the U.S. undetected.

Three others in India are facing charges in the deaths of Jagdish Patel, 39, wife Vaishaliben, 37, daughter Vihangi, 11, and three-year-old son Dharmik.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2023.

The Canadian Press