Boss pleads guilty in large human trafficking case

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HONOLULU (AP) -- A Hawaii farm supervisor has pleaded guilty to confiscating passports from Thai laborers to prevent them from fleeing.

Sam Wongsesanit entered his plea to a conspiracy charge in U.S. District Court on Tuesday.

The 40-year-old is the third defendant in a federal human trafficking case involving Los Angeles-based labor recruiting company Global Horizons to plead guilty in U.S. courts.

Wongsesanit told U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin S.C. Chang that he didn't know he was breaking the law when he took the workers' passports, but now he knows and he's taking responsibility.

He acknowledged confiscating passports from May 2004 to January 2008.

Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez said Wednesday the case involving about 600 Thai nationals is the largest human trafficking scheme ever seen by the Department of Justice.