NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Two Indian nationals are accused of conspiring with an undercover federal agent to smuggle people from Thailand to New Jersey.
Nileshkumar Patel, 41, and Harsad Mehta, 65, were arrested Wednesday night at Newark Liberty International Airport.
According to prosecutors, the pair met with an undercover Homeland Security agent on multiple occasions in Bangkok starting in April 2014.
A Homeland Security agent said in a criminal complaint that the men paid the agent between $35,000 and $50,000 to have six people smuggled to New Jersey via Newark airport.
Prosecutors allege Patel and Mehta agreed to wire a $10,000 down payment for each individual to be smuggled into the country and said they would pay a balance of tens of thousands of dollars for each individual once the foreign nationals arrived in the United States.
Patel allegedly told the agent he had been smuggling people into the United States since 1998, according to the criminal complaint.
Patel and Mehta are set for an initial appearance before a judge Thursday afternoon on smuggling and conspiracy charges.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the men had attorneys to comment on the charges against them.
(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)