Six Migrants from India Rescued After Boat Sinks in Border River near New York

by BOB PRICE 9 May 2022

Swanton Sector Border Patrol agents joined local law enforcement and first responders to rescue a group of Indian nationals crossing the Saint Regis River from Canada into New York. Their overloaded craft began to sink into near-freezing water.

Massena Station Border Patrol agents teamed up with the Saint Regis Tribal Police Department, the Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service, and the Hogansburg-Akwesasne Volunteer Fire Department (HAVFD) to rescue migrants, according to information obtained from Swanton Sector Border Patrol officials.

Acting Chief Patrol Agent

Tribal Partners and Swanton Sector Border Patrol Agents prevent dangerous smuggling attempt in upstate New York: See our full news release here:

9:39 AM · May 6, 2022

Concerned citizens notified the Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service about suspicious activity on a boat appearing to be illegally crossing the Saint Regis River from Canada into New York. The police officials notified the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Police Department about the boat traveling from Cornwall, Ontario, toward the U.S.

The tribal police observed the tiny boat appeared to be taking on water. Border Patrol agents and HAVFD first responders arrived and noted the boat was nearly submerged near the New York river bank at Akwesasne.

Water temperatures were near freezing at the time, making the circumstances life-threatening. In separation, one of the migrants exited the boat and began making his way to the shoreline, officials stated.

HAVFD rescue teams deployed a rescue boat that recovered the other six occupants. None of the migrants had life jackets or any other safety equipment.

Rescuers treated the people for hypothermia and released them to Border Patrol agents. The agents identified six of the occupants as citizens of India who were illegally present in the United States. The seventh occupant of the boat, a U.S. citizen, was identified as the human smuggler.

The six Indian migrants ranged in age from 19-21, officials reported. They all face charges of Illegal Entry by an Alien, the report states. The alleged smuggler now faces charges of Alien Smuggling. If convicted, the U.S. citizen could face up to ten years in federal prison for each of the six Indian migrants.

“I commend our Tribal partners for their diligent response and preventing what could’ve been a catastrophic situation,” Massena Station’s Patrol Agent in Charge Wade Laughman said in a written statement. “Human smuggling is not only a crime but extremely dangerous. Smugglers do not care about safety or human life; they only care about profits.”

Chief of Police Matthew Rourke of the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Police Department added, “I emphasize that human smuggling is illegal and poses a significant danger to the Akwesasne community. We don’t know the intentions or vaccination status of smuggled individuals, but more importantly, the time and resources spent in a rescue effort unnecessarily risk the lives of our first responders and our already strained emergency response services.”

Six Migrants from India Rescued After Boat Sinks in Border River near New York (