Customs Arrests Canadian Accused Of Smuggling Dozens Of South Koreans

Customs arrests Canadian accused of smuggling
Dozens of South Koreans allegedly brought into U.S.

January 7, 2009

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested a Canadian man Wednesday on charges that he is part of a smuggling ring that has brought dozens of undocumented South Koreans into the United States.

Jin Kyu Sohn faces charges of conspiring to smuggle and transport illegal immigrants as well as many counts of smuggling an illegal immigrant and bringing an illegal immigrant for financial gain.

A federal grand jury indictment unsealed Wednesday makes clear that Sohn's arrest is part of a long-standing federal investigation into the smuggling of Koreans across the Canadian border in the Blaine, Sumas, Lynden and Oroville areas.

The indictment details instances in 2006 in which dozens of Koreans were met at boarding houses in the Vancouver, B.C., area and taken to the border, where they crossed on foot and were met by a co-conspirator on the U.S. side.

On March 29, 2007, for example, Sohn and a co-conspirator allegedly drove five South Koreans to the border near Lynden, where the Koreans crossed on foot and were met by another alleged conspirator.

If found guilty, Sohn faces a maximum of 10 years on the conspiracy charge and a mandatory minimum of five years and up to 15 years if convicted of three or more counts of bringing in an illegal immigrant for profit.

He faces up to 10 years on the smuggling illegal immigrant charges and five years on charges of aiding and abetting the transportation of an illegal immigrant.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Alice Theiler ordered Sohn detained at the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac pending further court hearings.

P-I reporter Paul Shukovsky can be reached at 206-448-8072 or