NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A Chinese national whom authorities called a key player in a large-scale international smuggling ring was sentenced to more than three years in prison Friday.
Ning Guo was one of 29 people charged two years ago in what authorities said was an operation that smuggled counterfeit UGG boots, fake designer handbags, cigarettes and other items worth more than $300 million to the U.S.
The 40-year-old Guo pleaded guilty last August to two counts of conspiracy. A federal judge in Newark sentenced him Friday to 38 months in prison, and he faces deportation when he is released.
Aside from UGG boots and cigarettes, the group was accused of smuggling counterfeit Nike sneakers; fake Burberry, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Coach handbags; and other clothing items. Some defendants also were charged with conspiring to import 50 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine.
Authorities said the group brought the goods in through the Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal in Elizabeth using a corporation that was actually a front set up by law enforcement acting on a tip received by customs officials in northern Virginia. Several undercover agents were used to infiltrate the group.
Sixteen defendants have pleaded guilty.