ImmigrationTwenty workers arrested on Colorado farm for forged IDs

Published 3 June 2011

A recent inspection by DHS officials found that 89 percent of workers at a dairy farm in Morgan County, Colorado were not authorized to work in the United States legally; twenty of the fifty-three employees found working illegally at Wildcat Dairy were arrested for using forged Social Security Cards and green cards; the workers will first be charged for possessing false identities, and once that case is settled their immigration status will be addressed; the owner of the dairy will not face any state charges, but could be charged by federal immigration authorities for failing to verify employees with the e-verify system

A recent inspection by DHS officials found that 89 percent of workers at a dairy farm in Morgan County, Colorado were not authorized to work in the United States legally.

Federal immigration officials notified the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department three weeks ago after it had conducted an I-9 audit of the Wildcat Diary and found discrepancies in the farm’s employment eligibility forms.

Twenty of the fifty-three employees found working illegally at Wildcat Dairy were arrested for using forged Social Security Cards and green cards.

These 20 were the most egregious. They were suspected of using stolen and forged documents,” said Morgan County Undersheriff Dave Martin.

“Every one of these alien registration cards belong to some person,” said District Attorney Bob Watson. “But what we do know is that these victims didn’t even know they were victims.”

Watson said investigators are in the process of tracking down the individuals who had their identities stolen.

Undersheriff Martin added, “Criminal impersonation is a rapidly growing crime with unrealized financial costs, undue stress on innocent victims, and the potential for significant ongoing civil and criminal legal issues, including arrest for crimes committed by individuals using a victim’s name or social security number or other personal identification or financial information.”

The workers that were arrested will first be charged for possessing false identities, and once that case is settled their immigration status will be addressed.

Watson explained, “We’re not in the immigration business. We’re only in the criminal law business. Any immigration issues (are) solely a matter for the federal government. We’re only looking at prosecuting the use of false or fictitious identities.”

The owner of Wildcat Dairy will not face any state charges, but could be charged by federal immigration authorities for failing to verify employees with the E-Verify system.

“The fact that 89 percent of their employees weren’t eligible to work indicates we have a serious issue — they’re not checking employees,” said Watson. But state authorities do not have the jurisdiction to press charges as it is a federal issue.

According to Undersheriff Martin, the owner of Wildcat Dairy cooperated with local police in making the arrests as all but three of the twenty arrests took place at the farm.

The dairy owner said that he just recently began using the E-Verify system a few months ago, so the majority of his employees had not been checked using the system. But he said that all workers had filled out I-9 employment verification forms.

view counter
view counter