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HomeNewsArchivesTWO CHARGED IN ILLEGAL ALIEN DROWNING DEATHS

TWO CHARGED IN ILLEGAL ALIEN DROWNING DEATHS

Two Chinese nationals have been indicted by a federal grand jury on St. Croix for their efforts to smuggle a boatload of their countrymen to the island, resulting in the deaths of two would-be immigrants.
Ji Chen, also known as Ji Zheng, and Xiao Jing, also known as Shao Jing or Xing Chuong Jin, were indicted for smuggling 27 illegal aliens, two of whom died in the incident, into the U.S. on Dec. 30, 1999. Jian Quan, 35, drowned in the surf off St. Croix’s rugged east end while attempting to enter the country from a boat with the other Chinese immigrants early in the morning on Dec. 30. A second body was recovered from the sea in the same area three days later.
The group of immigrants was picked up by police after an officer spotted them in Sally’s Fancy. Quan’s body was recovered by police near Point Udall later in the day.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Hugh Mabe, Chen was among the 25 men who landed on St. Croix. He was arraigned in District Court on Thursday.
Mabe declined to comment on the status of Xiao Jing because of the ongoing investigation. The other men are being held as material witnesses in the drowning case.
"One was being detained…," Mabe said. "The other gentleman I have no comment about."
Mabe said the charge of alien-smuggling includes a provision that provides a penalty when death results. The maximum penalty for each count of alien-smuggling resulting in death is the death penalty or life in prison. Smuggling aliens for commercial or private gain carries a sentence of not less than three years, up to a maximum of 10 years, for each count. Both men face 25 counts for each charge. The maximum fine for the offenses is $250,000.
The method which the 25 aliens, and hundreds of others over the last two years, used to gain entry into the U.S. is a familiar one. The illegal immigrants pay smugglers up to $40,000 each to be shipped via freighter from China to the Caribbean, according to Immigration and Naturalization Service sources.
Once in the region they are offloaded, placed on faster boats and then dropped offshore of one of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Once onshore, the illegal immigrants wait to be caught, plead guilty and await the start of the deportation process off island.
Once on the mainland, the majority of immigrants post bond and head to New York City, where they retain a lawyer who begins political asylum procedures. Since asylum can take up to five years to receive, immigrants often begin the naturalization process to gain legal entry to the country.
According to the INS, some 400 Chinese nationals were arrested in the territory between Oct 1, 1998, and Sept. 30, 1999. Between Sept. 30, 1999, and now, 77 have been picked up, including the 25 on St. Croix.

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Two Chinese nationals have been indicted by a federal grand jury on St. Croix for their efforts to smuggle a boatload of their countrymen to the island, resulting in the deaths of two would-be immigrants.
Ji Chen, also known as Ji Zheng, and Xiao Jing, also known as Shao Jing or Xing Chuong Jin, were indicted for smuggling 27 illegal aliens, two of whom died in the incident, into the U.S. on Dec. 30, 1999. Jian Quan, 35, drowned in the surf off St. Croix’s rugged east end while attempting to enter the country from a boat with the other Chinese immigrants early in the morning on Dec. 30. A second body was recovered from the sea in the same area three days later.
The group of immigrants was picked up by police after an officer spotted them in Sally’s Fancy. Quan’s body was recovered by police near Point Udall later in the day.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Hugh Mabe, Chen was among the 25 men who landed on St. Croix. He was arraigned in District Court on Thursday.
Mabe declined to comment on the status of Xiao Jing because of the ongoing investigation. The other men are being held as material witnesses in the drowning case.
"One was being detained...," Mabe said. "The other gentleman I have no comment about."
Mabe said the charge of alien-smuggling includes a provision that provides a penalty when death results. The maximum penalty for each count of alien-smuggling resulting in death is the death penalty or life in prison. Smuggling aliens for commercial or private gain carries a sentence of not less than three years, up to a maximum of 10 years, for each count. Both men face 25 counts for each charge. The maximum fine for the offenses is $250,000.
The method which the 25 aliens, and hundreds of others over the last two years, used to gain entry into the U.S. is a familiar one. The illegal immigrants pay smugglers up to $40,000 each to be shipped via freighter from China to the Caribbean, according to Immigration and Naturalization Service sources.
Once in the region they are offloaded, placed on faster boats and then dropped offshore of one of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Once onshore, the illegal immigrants wait to be caught, plead guilty and await the start of the deportation process off island.
Once on the mainland, the majority of immigrants post bond and head to New York City, where they retain a lawyer who begins political asylum procedures. Since asylum can take up to five years to receive, immigrants often begin the naturalization process to gain legal entry to the country.
According to the INS, some 400 Chinese nationals were arrested in the territory between Oct 1, 1998, and Sept. 30, 1999. Between Sept. 30, 1999, and now, 77 have been picked up, including the 25 on St. Croix.