Counts said he could not comment on if the now convicted workers were cooperating with authorities as a part of the ongoing investigation. The company’s brands include Aaron’s Best, Aaron’s Choice, European Glatt, Nevel, Shor Harbor, Rubashkin’s, Supreme Kosher, David’s and Iowa’s Best.Agriprocessors, owned and operated by the Aaron Rusbashkin family, produces about 60 percent of the kosher meat and 40 percent of the kosher poultry in the U. Two-thirds of their products are nonkosher, and are sold through retailers including Wal-Mart and Trader Joe’s.The dealership would purchase specific makes and models at car auctions and provide them to the plant supervisor, who would then sell the vehicles to workers.
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"Those who knowingly employ or supervise illegal aliens, knowing their unlawful status, are able to exploit illegal aliens because illegal aliens are unlikely to contact authorities for fear they will be arrested and/or deported," wrote David Hoagland, senior special agent with ICE, in the affidavit for a search warrant of Agriprocessors.
"Exploitation can take on many forms, such as requiring employees to provide money or other things of value to maintain employment or secure better working hours or tasks, providing sub-par working conditions, failing to pay overtime, and physically harassing or mistreating employees." The 60-page document includes the testimony of several current and former Agriprocessors employees as they describe instances of exploitation and/or coercion.
The story of sexual coercion is echoed by Jenaro Rucal, who says he went to work at Agriprocessors after purchasing fake documents at the age of 13.
"My girlfriend was 16 when she came to work at the plant," he said in a telephone interview Friday morning.
"Just as a matter of policy, we don’t comment on any ongoing investigation," said Tim Counts, spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, when asked if stories of sexual exploitation now being told by former plant employees have been validated by government officials.
"But, as I think any law enforcement agency would say, if anybody believes they are a victim of a crime, they should immediately report that to the appropriate authorities." Such responses, while truthful, have been both commonplace and frustrating for those attempting to determine how much cooperation is taking place between federal agencies, between now criminally-convicted former plant workers, as well as between federal and state agencies.
Lynda Waddington More than two weeks have passed since the federal government launched an immigration raid -- the largest single-site raid in American history -- against Agriprocessors in Postville, Iowa, and more stories of abuse continue to surface.
More than two weeks have passed since the federal government launched an immigration raid — the largest single-site raid in American history — against Agriprocessors in Postville, yet many Iowans and plant employees continue to point to documents filed in the lead up as well as personal stories following the raid and wonder what might make news headlines in the weeks to come.
"I had a fight with the supervisor because he told my girlfriend that she could get ‘perks’ if he got ‘perks’ from her." In addition to the personal stories that have come out in the days following the raid, documents filed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement outline a scheme that involved the purchase and registration of automobiles.