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Iowa Meat Plant Supervisor Sentenced to 3 Years

posted on March 20, 2009

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- A supervisor arrested after a massive immigration raid at a kosher slaughterhouse was sentenced to three years in federal prison on Thursday for his part in hiring illegal immigrants.

Juan Carlos Guerrero-Espinoza, who worked at Agriprocessors Inc. in Postville, will also serve two years of supervised release after prison.

Guerrero-Espinoza, 36, agreed to plead guilty in August to one count of conspiracy to hire illegal immigrants and one count of aiding and abetting the hiring of illegal immigrants. He had faced up to 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

His attorney, Corey Rubenstein, said Guerrero-Espinoza's sentence was reduced because he didn't "engage in the offense for profit." He also said his client would be given credit for the nearly nine months spent in federal custody since his arrest.

Guerrero-Espinoza was arrested following a May immigration raid at Agriprocessors during which 389 people were taken into custody. Prosecutors said Guerrero-Espinoza instructed some workers days before the raid to get new fake IDs in order to keep working at the plant.

Agriprocessors and its top managers face charges stemming from the raid that include conspiracy to harbor undocumented immigrants for profit, aiding and abetting the harboring of undocumented immigrants and conspiracy to commit document fraud. Martin De La Rosa-Loera, another supervisor, has pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the harboring of undocumented immigrants and was sentenced to 23 months in prison followed by two years supervised release.

Prosecutors on Thursday announced that former human resources clerk Penny Ann Hanson, 41, of Clermont, also pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement on an immigration form and one count of conspiracy. She faces up to 15 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. A sentencing date wasn't immediately set.

Before the raid, Agriprocessors was the nation's largest kosher meatpacking plant. The company later filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and ceased production, although some lines have reopened.

Tags: Iowa meat news