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Postville, Ia. - The largest workplace raid in Iowa history Monday resulted in the arrest of more than 300 people and reignited the debate over immigration.
As two law enforcement helicopters hovered overhead, dozens of federal agents descended on Agriprocessors Inc., the nation's largest kosher slaughterhouse.
Federal authorities charged that a methamphetamine laboratory was operating at the nation's largest kosher slaughterhouse and that employees carried weapons to work.
The charges were among the most explosive details to emerge following the massive raid Monday at Agriprocessors in Postville, Iowa.
Agriprocessors was subjected to serious charges of using inhumane methods of slaughter, of being unsanitary, of maintaining an unsafe work environment and of mistreating its employees. All of this was propelled by a secret video released by PETA, leading to further attention. PETA ineffectively picketed the Allamakee County District Attorney to start an investigation.
“They are a major supplier to retail establishments all over the world,” Lubinsky said.
The company processes and packages kosher meat and poultry products under the brand Aaron’s Best that it supplies to small grocery stores and meat markets across the United States. The company also processes non-kosher meat products including Iowa Best Beef.
According to the application, a former plant supervisor told investigators that some 80 percent of the workforce was illegal. They included rabbis responsible for kosher supervision, who the source believed entered the United States from Canada without proper immigration documents. The source did not provide evidence for his suspicion about the rabbis.
The source also claimed to have confronted a human resources manager with Social Security cards from three employees that had the same number. The manager laughed when the matter was raised, the source said.
At least 300 people were arrested Monday during the raid, for which federal authorities had rented an expansive fairground nearby to serve as a processing center for detainees.
The search warrant application said that 697 plant employees were believed to have violated federal laws.