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Former Postville, Iowa, supervisor pleads guilty to helping hire illegal aliens

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A former local supervisor, who helped his Postville, Iowa, employer knowingly hire illegal aliens, pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court here. U.S. Attorney Matt M. Dummermuth announced the plea; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted the investigation.

Juan Carlos Guerrero-Espinoza, 35, formerly of Postville, was convicted of conspiring to hire illegal aliens, and aiding and abetting the hiring of illegal aliens.

According to a "Criminal Information" filed Aug. 19, Guerrero-Espinoza conspired with others and aided and abetted his employer in hiring more than 10 individuals knowing they were illegal aliens. On May 7, Guerrero-Espinoza told the employees he supervised that he knew they were unauthorized to work in the United States. However, he informed them that their employment would be terminated, but they would be immediately rehired by his Postville employer.

According to information disclosed in court, Guerrero-Espinoza's plea agreement calls for a two-year upward departure from the total sentence the court would otherwise impose based on dismissed and uncharged criminal conduct. Sentencing before U.S. District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade will be set after a pre-sentence report is prepared.

Guerrero-Espinoza remains in U.S. Marshal Service custody pending sentencing. He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a $500,000 fine, $200 in special assessments, and supervised release for up to six years. There is no parole in the federal system.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Peter E. Deegan Jr., C.J. Williams, and Matt Cole, Northern District of Iowa, prosecuted this case. It was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.