St. Johns County sushi restaurant managers accused of harboring people in US illegally – WJXT News4JAX

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Eric Wallace, Senior Producer, I-TEAM
Jenese Harris, Reporter/weekend anchor
Eric Wallace, Senior Producer, I-TEAM
Jenese Harris, Reporter/weekend anchor
ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – A man and a woman were arrested on federal charges of harboring people in the United States illegally who worked at their sushi restaurants in St. Johns County, according to criminal complaints filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
The two arrested, Ge Tang and Yanshen Huang, are both naturalized U.S. citizens who were born in China.
Each is listed in state records as the manager of a Tank’s Sushi Bistro location in St. Johns County — one in Nocatee and another in the Murabella area. Federal investigators say records indicate the two restaurants are closely related.
Federal agents started investigating the case in late 2020, after follow-ups in connection with another investigation.
They said they repeatedly saw vans and cars carrying several people from two homes in St. Johns County to the two restaurants.
Last week, according to court documents, agents got search warrants for the homes and also stopped a van as it arrived at the restaurant. Some of the occupants of a van were citizens of Guatemala who were in the U.S. illegally, court documents show. They told agents they worked at the restaurant for $3,000 to $4,000 in cash each month, often working 11- to 12-hour days, six days a week, and lived at the homes owned by the restaurant owners.
According to court documents, one worker paid $10,000 to be smuggled into the U.S., and he said that he had never seen the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification form and that he had never filled one out.
Inside the homes, one of which is located on Caribbean Place in the Beachwalk community, according to court records, agents found some of the rooms had been divided into additional bedrooms. The rooms were generally sparsely furnished, court documents note.
One of the complaints also notes that a St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office employee who lives in the same neighborhood as one of the homes had complained to the Sheriff’s Office about the excessive number of people living there and suspected human trafficking was occurring.
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