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Human Smuggling/Trafficking

Illegal alien who owned restaurant pleads guilty to aiding and abetting transportation of illegal aliens

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Zilen Wang, 34, of Beaufort, S.C., pled guilty in federal court in Charleston, S.C., on July 30 to aiding and abetting in the transporting of illegal aliens, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Wang, who is himself illegally present in the United States, was one of the owners and operators of the Jade Garden Restaurants located in both Beaufort and Bluffton, S.C.

Wang encouraged others who worked at the two restaurants to transport restaurant employees who he knew to be illegal aliens to and from the Jade Garden Restaurants so that they could work there.

He also provided vehicles to transport the illegal alien employees.

Wang faces a maximum penalty of fines up to $250,000 and imprisonment for five years.

The case was investigated by the ICE Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Charleston.

Assistant U.S. Attorney H. Christopher Coates of the U. S. Attorney's Charleston office handled the case.