On Wednesday, federal authorities carried out search warrants on 11 businesses in Minnesota and Nebraska and apprehended 133 illegal immigrant workers they found.
The authorities also announced Thursday they arrested 13 of the 17 people who were alleged ringleaders in a massive scheme to exploit illegal immigrants as cheap labor on farms and the Hispanic-oriented businesses.
ICE suspects the migrants were "coerced into working in rough conditions, either by force or threats of being reported to authorities for deportation."
Tracy J. Cormier, special agent in charge at Homeland Security Investigations in St. Paul, Minnesota said,
“These targeted businesses were knowingly hiring illegal workers to unlawfully line their own pockets by cheating the workers, cheating the taxpayers, and cheating their business competitors.”
According to officials, the migrants had taxes taken from their paychecks although the businesses never sent the tax money to the IRS. The migrants were also forced to cash their paychecks at a remittance business run by the scammers.
Some of the 133 illegal immigrants will be held in detention centers but others will be released with a future court date and face high odds of getting deported when their case is finished.
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