US (NE): Tomato greenhouse pleads guilty for conspiracy to harbor undocumented aliens

A tomato greenhouse and packing plant in O'Neill entered a felony plea of guilty in federal court for conspiracy to harbor undocumented aliens.

Agents and officers with Immigration and Customs Enforcement executed a search warrant at the greenhouse on Aug. 8, 2018, finding that undocumented alien workers made up approximately 70% of the company's workforce at the time.

According to the Department of Justice, the plea agreement requires the company to pay a fine of $400,000 at sentencing.

Additionally, the corporation has to allow Homeland Security Investigations to do reviews and inspections of the plant's labor practices and hiring processes during a probationary term.

The charge relates to the earlier prosecution of Juan Pablo Sanchez-Delgado.

The corporation admits through the plea agreement to being "in a conspiracy to employ and harbor undocumented aliens with Juan Pablo Sanchez-Delgado since at least 2014."

At Sanchez-Delgado's sentencing hearing on Nov. 27, 2019, the judge described his financial exploitation of the workers as one of the “most egregious financial crimes” that the judge had ever seen and sentenced him to the maximum time in prison authorized by law -- 120 months.

Read more at 3 News Now (Danielle Meadows)

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