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Federal judge dismisses charges against Hawaii farm owners accused in human trafficking case
HONOLULU (AP) ' All federal charges are being dismissed against two brothers accused of bringing 44 laborers from Thailand and forcing them to work on a Hawaii farm.
Federal prosecutors on Thursday asked U.S. Chief District Judge Susan Oki Mollway to drop all 12 counts against Alec and Mike Sou of Aloun Farms, and the judge granted their request.
The brothers were facing up to 20 years in prison without parole if they had been found guilty of the most serious charges.
Prosecutors cited new evidence that surfaced last week in asking Mollway to drop the charges.
Mollway ruled last Friday prosecutors couldn't claim that it was illegal to charge laborers recruiting fees in 2004 when the Sous brought workers to Hawaii. The law was changed in 2009 to prohibit recruiting fees.