Two of the 16 Chinese nationals who are accused of illegally entering Guam on a boat to evade immigration processing have pleaded guilty to the charges and are now awaiting sentencing.
The U.S. District Court for the NMI has accepted the guilty pleas of Zeng Guosheng and Sun Xiaojuan, two individuals separately charged with the same crime—conspiracy to transport illegal aliens. The two entered their guilty pleas before Magistrate Judge Heather Kennedy during a change of plea hearing yesterday at the U.S. District Court for the NMI.
“Court found that the defendants were fully competent to enter a knowing, voluntary and intelligent plea. Court will recommend accepting the defendants’ guilty plea and will file a written finding and recommendation for the District Court judge’s consideration. The parties will have 14 days to file objections. Sentencing will be set after the District Court judge accepts the findings and recommendations,” Kennedy stated in her order.
The two will be sentenced on Jan. 9, 2023, at 1:30pm.
Zeng was released from custody and was ordered to abide by the conditions of his release. Sun was released from his third-party custodian and is now out on his personal recognizance.
Following the hearing, Kennedy ordered that the plea agreements be unsealed, and the jury trials be vacated.
According to court documents, Zeng was one of eight defendants in this case. His co-defendants are Lu Haiyan, Li Fu, Li Xiang, Wang Shuyuan, Shangguan Xunan, Liu Ying, And Wu Xiuying.
Prior to this indictment, the United States indicted five others—Sun Xiaojuan, Zhang Liangxian, Gao Bingxing, Jin Suling, and Zhang Weifu—on the same charges and allegations.
Following both these indictments, an indictment was signed for the arrest of three more defendants accused of the same crime; they are She Gaoqin, Lou Youhou, and Guan Caiping.
According to all three indictments, all three groups of Chinese nationals are facing charges of conspiracy to transport illegal aliens. They allegedly chipped in to buy a boat that they later used to transport themselves and four others to Guam to avoid immigration.
According to the indictment, on July 2022, the defendants pooled their money to purchase a boat on Saipan. The boat, which is approximately 20 feet long with a fiberglass hull and motorized propeller, was used by the defendants to travel from the CNMI to Guam.
The defendants allegedly used the boat to get to Guam because they wanted to avoid immigration processes that was anticipated if travel was completed by commercial airplane.
Authorities located the boat in the Hagatna Boat Basin later.
It was later learned that the defendants do not have valid legal immigration status.