News and Press Releases

Woman was informant who smuggled loads of Korean nationals without permission

December 16, 2005

KONG SUN HERNANDEZ, 46, of Federal Way, Washington was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to six months in prison and three years of supervised release for Transportation in Furtherance of Prostitution. According to court hearings and documents filed in the case, HERNANDEZ transported Korean women who had crossed the border into the United States illegally. HERNANDEZ drove the women from Eastern Washington to Los Angeles knowing that the women would be put to work in the sex trade.

HERNANDEZ had been a government informant, providing information on other human smugglers, but made numerous trips transporting Korean nationals on her own, against the express direction of government agents. In sentencing HERNANDEZ, Chief U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik noted that what HERNANDEZ had done had "brought great shame on herself." "The crime of human trafficking is a terrible one," said Judge Lasnik, "one of the worst you can see."

Between 2001 and 2003, HERNANDEZ was working for the U.S. Border Patrol as an informant on human smuggling activities across the U.S.-Canada border. However, without informing her contacts at the Border Patrol, HERNANDEZ and a co-defendant, TAE HYU SHIN, 49, also of Federal Way, transported at least five loads of Korean Nationals from the border area to Los Angeles. HERNANDEZ and SHIN knew the women would pay off their debt to the smuggling organization by working at massage parlors and bars that were fronts for prostitution. Some of the smuggled women were brought into the country through a group headed by YOUNG PIL "RICKY" CHOI, 30, of Los Angeles. CHOI was sentenced in March 2005 to three years in prison for smuggling more than 100 illegal aliens into the United States.

TAE HYU SHIN was sentenced today to 90 days of electronic home monitoring and two years of probation.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Ye-Ting Woo and Tessa Gorman.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington, at (206) 553-4110.

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