Human smuggler gets two years in U.S. custody
By Neal Hall
July 10, 2009
VANCOUVER A Vancouver man who pleaded guilty to smuggling up to 99 Korean citizens into the U.S. was sentenced Friday to time served after spending two years in custody.
Jin Kyu Sohn, 44, was also sentenced to two years of supervised release for conspiracy to smuggle and transport aliens into the U.S. He also faces deportation to Canada.
Sohn was indicted June 21, 2007, for his role smuggling citizens of Korea into the U.S from Canada.
He worked with co-conspirators to get the South Korean nationals across the Canadian border and then down to the Seattle area. From there, most were transported to Los Angeles.
Sohn pleaded guilty on April 7 last year, when he admitted he smuggled between 25 and 99 Koreans into the U.S.
He worked with a network to smuggle the people into the U.S. for a fee estimated at thousands of dollars each.
In her sentencing memo, assistant U.S. attorney Ye-Ting Woo described the scheme saying, Many of the aliens were required to pay significant smuggling debts, and compelled to work in various locations throughout the United States including engaging in sex work, or in other forms of labour for low pay, resulting in debt servitude.
Woo, who heads up the U.S. Attorneys Office human trafficking group, told the court that this type of scheme leads to desperate circumstances for those who are smuggled.
The smuggling organizations exploit vulnerable undocumented immigrants who were indebted to the defendant and others for their smuggling fee, Woo told the court.
Some of these vulnerable immigrants became victims of crimes committed against them in the United States, and were significantly harmed financially, emotionally, and physically, Woo wrote to the court.
The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.