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Worksite Enforcement

St. Louis industrial supply company pleads guilty to employing illegal aliens

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — A local industrial supply company pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to employing illegal aliens. The guilty plea resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with assistance from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and the St. Charles County Sheriff's Department.

J & J Industrial Supply Inc. pleaded guilty Oct. 18 before U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber to knowingly and intentionally hiring more than 10 illegal aliens in a 12-month period. As part of the plea, the company agrees to forfeit $150,000 and a 2011 Toyota Highlander used to facilitate the illegal activity.

According to court documents, J & J Industrial Supply Inc., doing business as Industrial Wiping Cloths & Supplies, is a St. Louis business that resells used clothing in bulk quantities to overseas purchasers and produces cleaning rags for domestic customers. It is a labor intensive business that primarily involves hand sorting and cutting used clothing. The business retains about 40 employees and is owned by Jerry McArthur.

Since 2008, J & J Industrial Supply Inc. hired illegal aliens, who are not authorized to work in the United States, to supplement its legal workforce. During a 12-month period, the company employed 10 or more illegal aliens. By employing these illegal aliens the company realized proceeds of about $150,000 during the time of the offense.

On Sept. 27, Jerry McArthur drove five of his illegal alien employees in his 2011 Toyota Highlander to the Mexican Consulate in Kansas City to obtain Mexican Consular identification cards. This was done so that the employees would have some type of identification documents in case they came in contact with law enforcement officers. The vehicle was stopped for speeding in St. Charles County on its return journey and was seized because it facilitated the illegal employment.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Ware, Eastern District of Missouri, is prosecuting the case. Sentencing has been set for Jan. 17.