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January 30, 2017Newark, NJ, United StatesHuman Smuggling/Trafficking

2 New Jersey men plead guilty to smuggling foreign nationals into the country

NEWARK — Two men admitted Monday their roles in a conspiracy to illegally transport foreign nationals into the United States via commercial airline flights. The charges resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Nileshkumar Patel, 42, and Harsad Mehta, 68, both of India, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William J. Martini in Newark federal court to separate superseding information charging them each with one count of conspiracy to smuggle foreign nationals into the United States for commercial advantage and private financial gain.

“We will continue to vigorously pursue those who think the law does not apply to their criminal acts so let this be a warning, “said Special Agent in Charge Terence S. Opiola, HSI, Newark.  “I commend our special agents on a job well done.”

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Patel and Mehta admitted that from June 2013 through October 2015, they conspired to make money by recruiting Indian nationals to enter and reside in the United States illegally. Patel and Mehta admitted that on July 24, 2014, they brought two Indian nationals to Bangkok, Thailand, so that they could be transported into the United States. They also admitted paying an individual – who was actually an undercover officer – to transport the foreign nationals from Thailand into Newark.

The conspiracy count carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for May 16, 2017. 

Updated: 10/08/2020