UPDATED 3:30 AM 8-20-08
The Rubashkin family appears to be going down, as…
Agriprocessors supervisor faces additional charge
A manager who allegedly helped hide illegal workers at Agriprocessors Inc. in Postville will plead guilty Wednesday to charges tied to his role in the secret operation that employed nearly 700 illegal immigrants, according to a court docket published Tuesday.
Juan Carlos Guerrero-Espinoza will appear at a change-of-plea hearing at a temporary federal court in Cedar Rapids, according to the online court docket.
The news came as U.S. Attorney Matt Dummermuth announced the 35-year-old plant supervisor will face charges that he conspired with his employer to hire the illegal workers.
The plea bargain comes three months after federal agents raided the plant at detained 389 immigrant workers. Teig said the investigation remains open, but declined to say whether authorities would charge any other managers.
The new charges filed are conspiracy to hire illegal aliens, and aiding and abetting the hiring of illegal aliens. The conspiracy charge carries a maximum five-year prison sentence, while aiding and abetting sets a maximum 10-year prison sentence.
Prosecutors allege that Guerrero-Espinoza told his employees that the plant would fire and then immediately re-hire them with new papers.
Bob Teig, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office, would not disclose any details about the scheduled plea hearing. But the hearing before a federal magistrate coincides with an arraignment on Guerrero-Espinoza’s new charges, suggesting they could be part of a plea bargain.
Authorities were holding Guerrero-Espinoza in a local county jail, Teig said, but he did not know which one. Agents are still searching for a third man, Hosam Amara, who was last known to live in Postville.
Two lawyers for Guerrero-Espinoza did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Guerrero-Espinoza, who supervised the plant’s beef kill department, allegedly told a group of employees a few days before the raid that they needed new identification papers and Social Security numbers to stay employed. The supervisor allegedly asked workers for photographs and $200 to $220 for new documents.
Later, according to the complaint, Guerrero-Espinoza told the employees that they could return to work.
Why no charges against the Rubashkins so far?
I think the answer to that question is: RICO. The indictments will come, I think, soon.