SEATTLE – Federal prosecutors have charged a man with trying to sneak seven South Koreans into the United States from Canada.
Dong In Seok is part of a ring that has been smuggling undocumented Koreans first to Vancouver, B.C., and from there across the border in remote northeastern Washington, authorities wrote in a two-count complaint filed in U.S. District Court on Monday. The line typically ends in Los Angeles.
On March 27, Washington State Patrol troopers stopped a Canadian in a rented sport utility vehicle for a traffic violation near Oroville, Senior Special Agent David Lindwall of Immigration and Customs Enforcement wrote in charging papers. They found a handheld radio in the vehicle, along with two state maps with foreign writing on it, the charging documents said.
The rental agreement showed that the SUV had been picked up the day before at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, not by the driver but by Dong In Seok, also known as Kenny Suk, who had a previous arrest for human smuggling.
Five days later, Border Patrol agents stopped a Chevy TrailBlazer on a rural road near Oroville, a short distance from the border.
Inside the SUV were six Korean women, a Korean man and the 19-year-old Canadian driver, Dana Wutzke. The Koreans had apparently crossed the border on foot and were picked up by Wutzke.
Wutzke told an ICE agent that a Korean named “Leo” gave her the rented Trailblazer in Everett. In return, Wutzke gave Leo the teal Mazda MX3 she was driving.
Wutzke said she was to receive $700 for delivering the Koreans to Leo in Everett, according to the court documents.
Later that day, April 1, Lindwall and two other agents spotted the Mazda in the parking lot of a motel off I-5.
The motel manager confirmed that the Mazda belonged to a guest in Room 206. Lindwall, two other ICE agents and uniformed Everett police knocked on the door. Dong In Seok invited them in and was arrested.