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Human Smuggling/Trafficking

Canadian man sentenced for human smuggling scheme

SEATTLE - A Canadian man was sentenced today to time served in prison and two years of supervised release for his leadership role in smuggling South Koreans into the United States, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Jin Kyu Sohn, 44, of Vancouver, British Columbia, had already served about two years in prison awaiting the outcome of the case against him. He pleaded guilty in April 2009 to conspiracy charges of smuggling and transporting aliens and bringing illegal aliens to the United States.

Sohn was indicted in June 2007 for his role in smuggling at least 25 South Koreans for a fee into the United States via Canada. He worked closely with a network of individuals who would illegally bring the people across the Canadian border, to Seattle and ultimately to Los Angeles.

"Human smugglers operate ruthlessly and without regard for those they are smuggling," said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Seattle. "ICE will continue to seek out these criminal enterprises involved in this illegal activity and bring them to justice."

In the sentencing memo, the prosecutor summed up the scheme writing, "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 now faces deportation from the United States.