2 East Texans sentenced in illegal immigration ring - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2 East Texans sentenced in illegal immigration ring

BEAUMONT, TX (KLTV) - Two East Texans are among a group of people sentenced in a nationwide illegal immigration ring.

Selena Feng and Zongxian Zhu, both of Nacogdoches, were charged with conspiracy to transport and harbor aliens. Feng was sentenced in January to two years probation. Zhu was sentenced Thursday to two years probation.

READ MORE: East Texas restaurant connected to immigration violation ring

Officials say the scheme centered around recruiting illegal immigrants, for the purpose of finding them work in Asian-style restaurants in Louisiana and Texas. When the operation was exposed in March of 2014, federal law enforcement agencies said that the workers were forced to work and live in deplorable conditions.

Feng and Zhu ran Asian City, a restaurant on North Street in Nacogdoches. The restaurant is one of the many Texas restaurants found to be connected to the Hong Li job agency and Tai Shan employment agency.

The operation was lead by a Houston husband and wife, Lina Sun, 55, and Chenglun Ma, 58. The couple pleaded guilty to charges of racketeering and conspiracy on June 3 and were sentenced to federal prison Thursday. Sun was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison and Ma received 13 months in federal prison.

They were also jointly ordered to submit to forfeiture of a residence in the 8000 Bellaire Boulevard in Houston, given a $2.2 million money judgment, and made to forfeit $50,000.

According to court documents released Friday, the couple operated the Hong Li employment agency in Houston for more than a decade. Restaurants who received employees from the scheme were found in 20 states. Some of the most prolific restaurants in the scheme were located in Jefferson County, according to the documents.

Federal indictments were returned on Nov. 7, 2013, charging 32 individuals with RICO conspiracy and conspiracy to transport, harbor, and encourage and induce aliens to reside in the United States.

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