WATERLOO, Iowa - U.S. Attorney Matt M. Dummermuth announced today that 85 defendants pleaded guilty and were sentenced Monday on federal felony charges. They were among the 389 illegal aliens arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) May 12 at Agriprocessors Inc. in Postville, Iowa.
Criminal proceedings began at 8 a.m. Monday and concluded about 8:30 p.m.
"This is the greatest number of defendants ever to plead guilty and be sentenced in one day in the Northern District of Iowa," said Dummermuth. "Because of a special early disposition program approved by the Department of Justice, we have been able to handle this large volume of cases in a relatively short period of time."
"Close collaboration with the U.S. Attorney's office and our partner law enforcement agencies resulted in a highly successful operation," said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Bloomington, Minn. "To maintain the integrity of our legal immigration system, ICE is committed to enforcing the nation's immigration laws in the workplace."
Seventy-seven defendants were sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to using a false identification document to obtain employment and admitted they fraudulently used the identity of an actual person. The other eight defendants were sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to using a false identification document to obtain employment but the identity did not belong to an actual person. All 85 admitted they were in the United States illegally. Those sentenced to prison received five months in prison, three years of supervised release, and face deportation following their release from prison. The other eight were sentence to five years probation and face deportation.
According to a U.S. District Court website, additional hearings are scheduled through Thursday (http://www.iand.uscourts.gov/cvjschdule.nsf/by+date). Those sentenced to prison terms are being held in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. Those sentenced to probation will be turned over to ICE's Office of Detention and Removal Operations and placed in removal proceedings.
This was an ICE-led investigation. Other agencies assisting include: the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Iowa Department of Public Safety, the Iowa Department of Transportation, the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigations, and the U.S. Department of Labor.