Smuggler of Chinese Gets 44-Month Term

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

A Chinese national who organized the smuggling of 54 stowaways into the Port of Long Beach was sentenced Monday to 44 months in prison.

Liu Jie, who orchestrated the October 1999 smuggling attempt aboard a cargo ship, had pleaded guilty in April 2000 to conspiracy and alien smuggling charges.

Immigration agents found the Chinese nationals running out of air in a converted ballast storage and a front cargo hold that reeked of human waste. Many said they agreed to pay as much as $50,000 for the three-month trip to the United States.

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