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Florida human smuggling suspect released without bond after migrants found dead in Canada

A Florida man who is facing human smuggling charges after four migrants were found dead in the snow and seven others were found near the Canadian border last week was released from jail Monday without having to pay bond, according to reports. 

Steve Shand, 57, was stopped by the U.S. Border Patrol in North Dakota on Jan. 19 with two Indian nationals in his 15-passenger van, authorities said. 

Steve Shand has been charged with human smuggling after the bodies of four people, including a baby and a teen, were found in Canada near the U.S. border in what authorities believe was a failed crossing attempt during a freezing blizzard. 
(Grand Forks County Correctional Center via AP)

As Shand and the two migrants were being transported to a Border Patrol station, five other people were found in freezing conditions across the state line in Minnesota

“The five Indian nationals explained that they had walked across the border [from Canada] expecting to be picked up by someone,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota said. 

MIGRANT ENCOUNTERS INCREASED AGAIN AT THE SOUTHERN BORDER IN DECEMBER

Law enforcement was notified that a family was still out in the cold and a search ensued. 

A border marker, between the United States and Canada is shown just outside of Emerson, Manitoba, on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022.  

A border marker, between the United States and Canada is shown just outside of Emerson, Manitoba, on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022.  
(John Woods/The Canadian Press via AP)

Four people, including a baby and a teen, were then found frozen in Canada about 30 feet north of the U.S. border by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. 

Shand was charged with human smuggling but has not been charged in the deaths of the four migrants. 

SUPREME COURT HEARS CASES ON PROLONGED DETENTION OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS

U.S. Magistrate Judge Hildy Bowbeer of Minnesota ordered Shand to report to a supervisor in his home state of Florida and surrender his travel documents, but did not set a bond. 

Shand, who is a suspect in other human smuggling operations, also must undergo a mental health evaluation in the next 60 days. 

Road signage is posted just outside of Emerson, Manitoba on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022. 

Road signage is posted just outside of Emerson, Manitoba on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022. 
(John Woods/The Canadian Press via AP)

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Migrant encounters at the northern border have been elevated recently, with 16,528 from October through December of last year. There were only 6,605 during that same time frame in 2020 and 10,667 in 2019. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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