Trial date set for Route 56 Express owners

By Chris Swick
August 14, 2015

The McPherson couple facing charges of being in the country illegally and helping to smuggle fellow illegals into the United States will stand trial next month.

But, before that, Satishkumar and Daxaben Patel, as well as fellow defendants Mehesh Patel and Nitin Patel, will have a status conference on Aug. 24.

The Patels are facing 45 counts, including document fraud and making false claims of U.S. Citizenship, in relation to their ownership of Route 56 Express in McPherson. They were arrested in June after a raid by federal, state and local law enforcement on the gas station and their home in McPherson.

A federal indictment alleges that the Patels unlawfully entered the United States from India in the 1990s and never became legal citizens, though they obtained social security numbers and Kansas driver's licenses by claiming to be undocumented but authorized to work.

Additionally, they are facing charges of harboring aliens, both by employing them and providing housing.

The case will be put to a jury trial on Sept. 8 at 9 a.m. in U.S. District Court in Wichita. The Patels face nearly 40 years in prison total for the charges.