DES MOINES, Iowa — Two supervisors at an Iowa meatpacking plant that was raided by federal immigration agents in May were arrested and charged with encouraging people to live in the United States illegally.
Juan Carlos Guerrero-Espinoza, 35, and Martin De La Rosa-Loera, 43, were also charged Thursday with and aiding and abetting the possession and use of fraudulent identification. Guerrero-Espinoza was charged with aiding and abetting aggravated identity theft.
Federal immigration officials raided Agriprocessors, the nation's largest kosher meatpacking plant, on May 12. Nearly 400 workers were detained and dozens of fraudulent permanent resident alien cards were seized from the plant's human resources department, court records said.
Since the raid, critics had asked federal officials why no top executives at the plant had been arrested even though more than a third of the plant's employees faced immigration charges.
"I'm still waiting to see whether federal officials will pursue an investigation into Agriprocessors itself for apparent workplace safety and immigration law violations," U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley said. "As I've said before, until we enforce our immigration laws equally against both employers and employees who break the law, we'll continue to have a problem with illegal immigration."
No comment from company
Agriprocessors spokesman Juda S. Engelmayer said the company and its attorneys were reviewing the paperwork from the federal action on Thursday and couldn't comment on the matter.
According to the complaints, sources told federal officials that Guerrero-Espinoza and De La Rosa-Loera were plant supervisors.
A person who worked in the human resource department told authorities that Guerrero-Espinoza would bring them resident alien cards for new job applicants who were to be hired in the beef kill department, one of the areas he supervised, the complaint said.
A week before the raid, Guerrero-Espinoza instructed a group of workers to get new IDs and Social Security numbers in order to keep working at the company, another source at the plant told authorities.
A number of sources said a couple of weeks before the raid that De La Rosa-Loera told them they needed new documents to work at the plant, the complaint against him said. When they got the new documents, they reported that De La Rosa-Loera handed them back but allowed them to continue working at the plant.
Detention hearings for both men were ordered for Monday in Cedar Rapids. Court documents did not list attorneys for the men, and officials with the U.S. Clerk of District Court's office did not know whether attorneys had been appointed.
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