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Indians held for human trafficking

india Updated: Dec 15, 2007 21:10 IST

The authorities in the United States have announced that nine persons from India have been indicted for their alleged roles in a global human trafficking racket aimed at transporting illegal immigrants through southeast Asia to the US.



The acting United States Attorney for Pennsylvania and the Department of Homeland Security have announced that nine persons from India have been indicted for their alleged roles in a major international alien smuggling ring.



A federal grand jury has returned a three-count indictment against nine persons from India -- Naresh Patel, Dinesh Diwan, Rakesh Patel, Hiren Mehta, Rajesh Katwa, Jitendra Sheth, Asha Varma, Bibin Balachandran and Sandip Kumar Patel -- charging them with conspiring to illegally smuggle undocumented aliens from India to Pennsylvania through Thailand, Los Angeles and Philadelphia.



The indictment returned by the grand jury alleged that the racket extended from 2003 through December 5, 2007.



The grand jury said that over the past five years the defendants - eight Indian nationals and a naturalised US citizen - brought a dozen immigrants into the US on false passports and fabricated documents.



Eight suspects were arrested on December 5 in Chicago and Pennsylvania, while the ninth, 22-year-old Katwa of the Chicago area, is considered a fugitive.



According to the indictment, which has been posted by the Attorney's Office in Pennsylvania, the conspirators were paid thousands of dollars for each alien smuggled into the US.