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Big immigration busts

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has made nearly 9,000 arrests in 2007 and 2008 so far. Here's a look at some of the biggest raids involving contractors:

2007

• 40 illegal immigrants and one supervisor arrested Jan. 18 and 19 in a three-state sweep while doing construction and masonry work at Quantico Marine Base in Virginia, Creech Air Force Base in Nevada and Fort Benning in Georgia. Richard Eversole, owner of Commercial Concrete, and Jacob Bocanegra were charged with conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens. Eversole pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years of probation and fined $100. Bocanegra remains at large. Twenty-one immigrants were charged with violations including identity theft, improper entry and re-entry after deportation.*

• 77 illegal immigrants and one employer arrested March 29 while doing construction and welding work on highway bridges. Tarrasco Steel employed 26 of the immigrants. The remaining were employees of other unnamed construction companies at the site. Jose S. Gonzalez, owner of Tarrasco Steel, was indicted for making false statements and unlawful employment of aliens. The case is pending.

• 34 illegal immigrants and seven supervisors working for roofing company Mid-Continent Specialists in Kansas City, Mo., arrested June 18. Tony Evans, former president of Mid-Continent Specialists, and Luis Hernandez-Bautista pleaded guilty to conspiring to hire illegal aliens. Mario Bautista-Ojendiz, Dante Cardillo-Rendon, Gaudencio Bautista and Abel Montiel-Angel all pleaded guilty to money-laundering charges in connection with the conspiracy. In August 2008, Montiel-Angel was sentenced to time served. All others are awaiting sentencing. Armando Hernandez-Gonzalez was also indicted for alleged involvement in the conspiracy, but the U.S. attorney in charge of the case dropped the charges.

• 31 illegal immigrants arrested on July 10 while working in construction and maintenance at Oorah Catskill Retreat, a children's summer camp, in Gilboa, N.Y. Schoharie County Sheriff John Bates, whose office participated in the raid, says the workers were employed by a maintenance subcontractor and the camp itself was not held responsible.

2008

• 34 illegal immigrants and one employer working for CMC Concrete and associate firm Stonewall Concrete in Manassas, Va., arrested March 24. CMC president Felisberto Magalhaes pleaded guilty to a pattern or practice of illegal employment of aliens without lawful authority to work in the United States. He was fined $122,000 and sentenced to one year probation.

• 28 illegal immigrants arrested April 25 at Nash Gardens, a tree nursery and landscaping business in El Paso, Texas. Twenty-five were charged with using a false document or Social Security Number for employment purposes. ICE says the investigation into Nash Gardens is continuing.

• 24 illegal immigrants working for Naylor Concrete arrested April 30 while doing contract work at the Little Rock National Airport in Little Rock, Ark. ICE says the investigation is ongoing.

• 33 illegal immigrants arrested May 7 while working on a construction job at the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Richmond, Va. One immigrant was charged with possession of a fraudulent document and another with re-entry after deportation. Tompkins Builders, owned by Turner Construction, was the general contractor. In statements to the press, Turner said they used numerous subcontractors on the job and none of those arrested were employed by Turner or Tompkins.

• 25 illegal immigrants arrested May 15 while working on a construction job at the Lee County Sheriff's Office in Fort Myers, Fla. The sheriff's office says the workers were employed by Kraft Construction and subcontractor Spectrum Contracting. ICE refuses to confirm the names of the contractors but says the investigation is ongoing.

• 45 illegal immigrants working for Annapolis Painting Services in Baltimore, Md., arrested June 30. ICE says the investigation of the company and owner Robert Bontempo is continuing.

• According to ICE, all immigrants mentioned above were arrested on administrative charges of being in the United States illegally and processed for removal from the country. In cases where they face additional federal charges, such as using false documents or trying to reenter the country after deportation, they are prosecuted first, serve time if warranted and deported.

Source: Immigration and Customs Enforcement; Angie's List Magazine staff reporting


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