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A woman convicted for her role in a smuggling conspiracy that ended with the deaths of 10 Chinese immigrants has lost a Supreme Court appeal.

Cheng Chui Ping, better known by her nickname, Sister Ping, was sentenced to 35 years in prison, for heading a large alien smuggling operation. The justices did not comment Monday in denying her appeal of her money laundering conviction.

The conspiracy came to light only after the Golden Venture ran aground in New York City in 1993 in an attempt to unload the 295 passengers crammed inside. The ship's captain deliberately ran aground when no one showed up to meet the passengers. Ten immigrants died trying to swim to shore, while dozens suffered hypothermia and other injuries.

Prosecutors said Sister Ping was a key player in the conspiracy that exploited and abused immigrants, in many cases charging them tens of thousands of dollars for the trips, to be collected from their wages once they arrived in the United States.


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