Part-WAS-Was8907420-1-1-0WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — The U.S. government will take action against more than 300 Indian college students who were caught in a sting operation for allegedly trying to extend their stay in the country illegally, a State Department official said on Tuesday.

“For the most part, they all came on legitimate student visas. It was actually when they were in country that some of them sought to extend their stay in the United States is my understanding,” said Mark Toner, State Department deputy spokesman.

The students were caught in a sting that was conducted by the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

As many as 21 brokers and middle men, including 11 of Indian-origin, were arrested last week as a result of the sting operation. Toner said only those Indian students who tried to extend their stays illegally were subject of the sting.

“These individuals who came here on a student visa did come either to work or to study legitimately. They did qualify for student visas. They met the qualifications. They were issued student visas,” Toner said. “It was only after living here, attending university or whatever, that they then decided to again allegedly seek out the assistance of this criminal organization to extend their stay in the United States. That’s an important clarification.”

Toner added that the investigation and sting was separate to that of the one which occurred in the recent pay-to-stay F1 scam.