CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — A supervisor arrested after an immigration raid at a large meatpacking plant pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiring to hire illegal immigrants and aiding and abetting their hiring.
Juan Carlos Guerrero-Espinoza, 35, who worked at the Agriprocessors meatpacking plant in Postville, struck a plea deal with federal prosecutors in court Wednesday. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
Federal magistrate Jon S. Scoles told Guerrero-Espinoza he will probably serve four to five years in prison. Part of the plea deal recommends a judge add two years to his sentence.
A date for sentencing was not immediately scheduled.
Scoles said Guerrero-Espinoza, a legal U.S. resident, could be deported after serving his sentence.
Guerrero-Espinoza, shackled at the wrists, ankles and waist, nodded his head while Scoles read the charges against him.
In May, the Agriprocessors plant in Postville was the site of the largest single-site immigration raid in U.S. history.
After the raid, 389 illegal immigrants were detained.
Guerrero-Espinoza and another Agriprocessors supervisor were arrested on July 3 and charged with encouraging illegal immigrants to reside in the U.S. and aiding and abetting the possession and use of fraudulent identification. Guerrero-Espinoza also faced a charge of aiding and abetting aggravated identity theft.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Deegan said in court on Wednesday that the additional two years recommended for Guerrero-Espinoza's sentence stem from "dismissed and uncharged conduct," but declined to comment further after the hearing.
The plea agreement is nonbinding, and sentencing judge Linda R. Reade does not have to abide by the two-year addition recommended by prosecutors.
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