6 Indicted in Alien Smuggling Plot
DETROIT (AP) _ Six people have been indicted in a conspiracy to smuggle hundreds of illegal immigrants from China to the United States by bribing a U.S. immigration inspector, federal officials said Wednesday.
The indictment alleges the six plotted to smuggle the aliens from Fujian Province, China, through Detroit Metropolitan Airport via commercial flights, U.S. Attorney Saul Green said.
To get into the country, the aliens used Chinese passports containing entry visas that were obtained by bribing a senior immigration inspector who was posing as a corrupt inspector, Green said. In all, 425 passports were provided to the inspector in exchange for $260,000.
Sixteen Chinese nationals made it into the country through the airport in March, according to Gina Vitrano, spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney. Their whereabouts are unknown, she said.
The case, known as ``Operation Squeeze Play,″ was investigated by the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
``Criminal organizations responsible for trafficking in human beings have been dealt a major setback today,″ INS Commissioner Doris Meissner said.
Named in the six-count indictment were Fhang Wei and Pheng Huang, both of Fuzhou, Fujian, China; Hyo Young ``Peter″ Park, of Winnipeg, Canada; Tong ``Thomas″ Choe, of Toronto; Yu Feng Liu, of Camp Hill, Pa.; and a person identified only as Andy.
Three remained at large Wednesday. The other three were arrested Tuesday night at the airport, along with two sisters and their father, all from a Toronto suburb, Vitrano said.
If convicted, those indicted could be sentenced to 10 to 15 years in prison and fined $600,000.