News and Press Releases

Defendant Part of Conspiracy to Smuggle Korean Nationals into US from Canada

July 10, 2009

JIN KYU SOHN, a/k/a ALEX, 44, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to the time he has served in prison and two years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Smuggle and Transport Aliens, and Bringing an Illegal Alien to the United States. SOHN had served approximately two years in prison by the time Judge Ricardo S. Martinez imposed the sentence. SOHN now faces deportation from the United States.

According to records filed in the case, SOHN was indicted June 21, 2007, for his role smuggling citizens of Korea into the United States via Canada. When SOHN pleaded guilty on April 7, 2008, he admitted that he smuggled between 25 and 99 Korean citizens into the U.S. SOHN worked with a network of individuals to smuggle the Koreans into the U.S. for a fee. In her sentencing memo Assistant United States 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 labor for low pay, resulting in debt servitude.” SOHN worked with his 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, California.

Ms. Woo, who heads up the United States Attorney’s Office work group on human trafficking, 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. Some of these vulnerable immigrants became victims of crimes committed against them in the United States, and were significantly harmed financially, emotionally, and physically,” Ms. Woo wrote to the court.

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

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@USDOJ.Gov.

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