NEW YORK: An Indian citizen has been sentenced to a year and a day in prison for his role in a conspiracy to smuggle people into the US through Thailand.
Bhavin Patel, 39, who had earlier admitted his guilt in court, was sentenced in Newark by Federal Judge John Vazquez, New Jersey Federal Prosecutor Craig Carpenito said on Tuesday.
According to court papers, Patel had agreed to pay an undercover law enforcement officer, who was pretending to be a people-smuggler in Bangkok, tens of thousands of dollars for each person he would arrange to get into the US on commercial flight using his contacts.
The conspiracy began in 2013, but Patel was arrested only in December last year when he came to Newark, according to prosecutors.
On three different occasions, Patel or his conspirator brought Indian citizens to a Thai airport for the undercover officer to use his contacts to smuggle them into the US, according to the prosecutors.
The investigations began when Department of Homeland Security agents got a tip that a smuggling operation run by Patel was trying to find ways to bring Indians illegally into the US, according to court papers.