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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Jersey

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, January 30, 2017

Two Men Plead Guilty To Smuggling Foreign Nationals Into The United States

NEWARK, N.J. – Two men today admitted their roles in a conspiracy to illegally transport foreign nationals into the United States via commercial airline flights, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

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 informations charging them each with one count of conspiracy to smuggle foreign nationals into the United States for commercial advantage and private financial gain.

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 potential sentence of 10 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for May 16, 2017.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Terence S. Opiola in Newark, with the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Francisco J. Navarro of the U.S Attorney’s Office National Security Unit in Newark.

Defense counsel:

Patel: Michael P. Koribanics Esq., Clifton, New Jersey

Mehta: Mark A. Berman Esq., River Edge, New Jersey

Topic(s): 
National Security
Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
17-022
Updated January 30, 2017