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Worksite Enforcement

3 local businessmen plead guilty to employment-related immigration conspiracy

GULFPORT, Miss. - Randall J. "Randy" Weitzel, 50, of Gulfport; Edwood "Woody" Brodtmann, Jr., 61, of Bay St. Louis, Miss.; and Agustin Arcadia, 44, of Van Cleave, Miss., pled guilty in federal court Friday to charges related to employing illegal aliens at federal and private projects on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and elsewhere.

The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of the Inspector General.

Weitzel and Arcadia pled guilty to a conspiracy spanning eight years, during which they encouraged and induced illegal aliens to reside in the United States; concealed, harbored, and shielded illegal aliens from detection; and helped transport illegal aliens. Brodtmann pled guilty to a related conspiracy involving a pattern or practice of continuing to employ illegal aliens.

The charges against all three men stem from the discovery of nearly a dozen illegal aliens living at a house that Weitzel rented for them in Biloxi, Miss. Several of the illegal aliens were working on a federal contract at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., as part of a company that Weitzel ran. Illegal alien laborers associated with Weitzel also worked on other federal contracts, including the Dan M. Russell, Jr., U.S. Courthouse and Annex in Gulfport, where the guilty pleas were entered.

As part of his obligation as a federal project subcontractor, Weitzel signed certified payrolls listing employees who were in fact illegal aliens, including one whom Weitzel knew was working under an assumed name. In certifying the payrolls, Weitzel also signified that he was withholding federal and state taxes from his employees' paychecks, when in fact he was not. Weitzel's business has been known by various names, including Procoat, Inc., Procoat of LA, Inc., ATI of LA, Inc., Artisan Textures, Inc., and Artisan Construction, Inc.

Following the arrest of illegal alien laborers employed by Weitzel at Keesler Air Force Base, Weitzel stopped providing transportation and housing for his workers. A truck that had been provided to one of the Keesler arrestees was hidden at a farm owned by Brodtmann, who was employed by one of Weitzel's companies.

Weitzel began using laborers who did not work directly for his company but for sham subcontract businesses that he helped create, including J.A. Construction, which was run by Arcadia. Arcadia continued to act as a supervisor for Weitzel and helped run another subcontract business, AQ Stucco, which also worked for Weitzel and employed a substantial share of illegal alien laborers.

"ICE aggressively targets egregious employers who knowingly and recklessly employ an illegal alien workforce," said Raymond R. Parmer, Jr., special agent in charge of ICE HSI in New Orleans. "We will continue to use all our investigative tools to pursue employers who take advantage of illegal labor to make an unlawful profit." Parmer oversees responsibility for the states of Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, Tennessee and Louisiana.

Since it was established in 2003, ICE has dramatically enhanced its efforts to combat the unlawful employment of illegal aliens in this country. ICE's comprehensive strategy for worksite enforcement is aimed at promoting national security and public safety, protecting critical infrastructure, and ensuring fair labor standards.

"Individuals and businesses who hire illegal aliens are doing nothing but hurting honest, hard working Americans. Plain and simple, the message should be clear by now, we are going to continue aggressively investigating and prosecuting individuals and businesses who hire illegal aliens," said U.S. Attorney John M. Dowdy, Jr.

Weitzel, Arcadia, and Brodtmann will be sentenced on Sept. 1.

Weitzel and Arcadia face a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and three years of supervised release. Brodtmann faces a maximum penalty of six months in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000.

For more information, visit www.ice.gov.