Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested 114 illegal aliens during raids today at Corso's Flower & Garden Center, an Ohio-based landscaping company. ICE agents raided two of the landscaping business' locations -- one in the city of Sandusky and the other in the city of Castilia -- where ICE Spokesperson Khaalid Walls said that agents seized "a large volume of business documents" as part of the investigation.
At this time, no charges have been filed against Corso's, but the company continues to be under investigation.
According to Head of ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Detroit-based unit Steve Francis, agents began investigating the landscaping company in October 2017 when border patrol agents arrested a woman who had used stolen identity documents she obtained from a documents vendor to apply for jobs in the U.S. Investigators traced the vendor back to Corso's landscaping business, where they found stolen social security numbers, some of which belonged to deceased persons, while reviewing the company's documents.
"We verified that a lot of U.S. persons were obviously unaware of this. It's caused them a lot of hardship," Francis said. "It's not one that we're looking for strictly as a worksite immigration raid."
After investigating 313 employee records, ICE agents suspected and targeted 123 of them for arrest and criminal charges of identity theft. Of those 123 cases, agents alleged tax evasion in almost all of them.
The arrests come after ICE agents conducted raids on a Tennessee meatpacking plant in April and some 98 7-Eleven convenient stores in 17 states nationwide back in January.
Today's raid is part of the Trump Administration's effort to increase enforcement of immigration laws and combat fraud and abuse of the immigration system by holding employers accountable.
For more on this story, see Bloomberg.
Updated: Tue, Jun 19th 2018 @ 1:30pm EDT