A man from Uzbekistan who was accused of running a 14-state human trafficking ring in Kansas City has pleaded guilty to four charges under a plea agreement in which he will serve at least 10 years in federal prison.
Abrorkhodja Askarkhodjaev, 31, was facing more than 100 counts related to a scheme to lure foreigners to Kansas City with the promise of good jobs and a better life, but instead turned them into slave workers who were threatened with having their temporary visas pulled or having harm done to their families.
The enterprise illegally made more than $6 million, prosecutors said.
Opening statements in Askarkhodjaev's trial had been set to start Wednesday, but he decided to change his plea after a jury had been selected. During a recess of several hours prosecutors worked up the plea bargain.
Askarkhodjaev entered his plea late Wednesday - after fainting while standing in front of U.S. District Judge Ortrie Smith. He was taken from the courtroom, but brought back to continue the plea hearing about 20 minutes later after receiving nourishment.