News and Press Releases


September 14, 2005

KONG SUN HERNANDEZ, a/k/a Madam Jin, 46, and TAE HYU SHIN, 55, both of Federal Way, Washington pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Seattle today to Transportation in Furtherance of Prostitution. According to the plea agreements the two transported at least one Korean woman who had crossed the border into the United States illegally. HERNANDEZ and SHIN traveled from their residences in Federal Way to Eastern Washington to pick up the woman, and then drove the woman to Los Angeles knowing that the women would be put to work in the sex trade. Chief U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik will sentence both defendants on December 16, 2005. Under the terms of the plea agreement SHIN faces up to three months in prison and is required to pay a fine of $2,500. HERNANDEZ faces up to a year in prison and is required to pay a fine of up to $5,000. Both defendants are required to forfeit assets used or derived from their criminal activities. As a resident alien HERNANDEZ also faces potential deportation following any prison term.

According to court hearings and documents filed in the case, 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 recruited her boyfriend, SHIN, to assist her with unauthorized smuggling of women into the United States. From approximately June 2003 to November 2003, HERNANDEZ and SHIN transported on at least five occasions, groups of Korean Nationals, most of whom were women, from the border area to Los Angeles. HERNANDEZ and SHIN were paid by smuggling brokers for their activities. HERNANDEZ and SHIN knew the women owed a debt to the smuggling organization that arranged for the women to be brought into the United States, and that these women would pay off their debt by working as call girls, or 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, who has been convicted in this District for his smuggling activities. CHOI was sentenced in March 2005 to three years in prison for smuggling more than 100 illegal aliens into the United States.

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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