On Thursday, July 16, U.S. District Attorney Walt Williams added Columbia Farms to an indictment stemming from the June 2008 arrests of five Columbia Farms plant managers and the October 2008 arrests of more than 300 illegal workers. Previously, the indictment had only charged plant manager Barry Cronic and personnel manager Elaine Crump.
The indictment states that Columbia Farms, through Cronic and Crump, knowingly continued to employ 29 illegal aliens. Cronic and Crump are both accused of knowingly hiring illegal workers (as early as November 2001) and of instructing illegal workers to use falsified identity documents. The parent company of Columbia Farms, House of Raeford Farms of Raeford, NC, has denied having any knowledge of Columbia Farm's illegal hiring practices and has not been named in the indictment.
After the October 2008 raid, an audit of the immigration paperwork for 825 employees showed that more than 775 contained false information. Most of the illegal workers arrested in the raid were deported, but some were charged with using false identity documents, using false or stolen Social Security numbers, or re-entering the United States illegally.
Updated: Wed, Jul 5th 2017 @ 2:14pm EDT