- Associated Press - Friday, February 13, 2015

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Three Southern California women have pleaded guilty to illegally smuggling immigrants from Armenia into the United States.

Forty-year-old Meri Avetsiyan (uh-VET’-see-yun), 42-year-old Varduhi Avagyan (uh-VAH-ghee-un) and 57-year-old Maria Yanakopulus (yan-uh-KAH-puh-liss) all admitted their roles in an international smuggling organization.

They pleaded guilty to conspiring to bring Armenian nationals not authorized to be in the United States into the country through Russian and Mexico.

The Armenian immigrants were charged up to $18,000 to be brought into the United States by using valid entry documents and posing as the people in them.

The women, all from Glendale, face a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when they’re sentenced in May.

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