Lamb, Swift employee, charged with bringing in illegal immigrants
DES MOINES, Iowa – A human resources worker for Colorado-based Swift & Co. and a union representative were arrrested at a Swift meatpacking plant in Iowa on charges of bringing in and harboring illegal immigrants.The arrests in Marshalltown on Tuesday were part of a nationwide sweep of Swift plants that netted 19 arrests overall, including two people at Swift’s Greeley, Colo., plant, said Richard Rocha, a spokesman with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.There were conflicting reports about the charges facing the 17 workers arrested outside Iowa. Rocha said all were arrested on charges of identity theft. ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice said one person arrested in Greeley was held on a traffic warrant and the other was an immigrant subject to deportation because of a previous offense.Rocha said Chris Lamb, 37, of Marshalltown, a human resources worker at the Marshalltown plant, was arrested on charges of bringing in and harboring illegal immigrants and misprison of a felony. Rocha described misprison as knowing of a felony crime being committed or participating in the commission of a felony crime and not reporting the crime.Up to eight years in jailIf convicted on those charges, Lamb could face up to eight years in prison, Rocha said.Sean McHugh, a spokesman at Swift’s Greeley headquarters, declined to comment on specific arrests. He said Swift did not know about Tuesday’s operation in advance.He said the company cooperated with ICE agents during the operation and “has never knowingly hired illegal workers.”A hearing for Lamb was scheduled for July 23 in U.S. District Court in Des Moines, officials with the U.S. attorney’s office said.Braulio Pereyra-Gabino, 58, of Marshalltown, was charged with bringing and harboring illegal immigrants.Pereyra-Gabino is the local vice president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and an employee of Swift. He conducts union orientation for workers at the Marshalltown plant.The arrests were part of an investigation into identity theft and illegal employment, Rocha said.The U.S. attorney’s office said that two other Iowans were being sought on immigration and identity theft-related charges. No other information on those individuals was released.Three other people at the plant were detained to determine if they are in the country legally, the U.S. attorney’s office said.ICE agents raided Swift plants in six states on Dec. 12, arresting nearly 1,300 Swift employees in Marshalltown; Greeley; Grand Island, Neb.; Cactus, Texas; Hyrum, Utah; and Worthington, Minn.
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