Company avoids charges in federal investigation


Published: Wednesday, January 6, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 at 11:02 p.m.

A federal investigation into Pilgrim's Pride Corp.'s plant in Live Oak has apparently ended with an agreement between federal officials and the company, according to federal court files.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Texas and immigration officials announced they have reached an agreement that will end the investigation without civil or criminal charges being filed against the company.

Company officials have agreed to pay the federal government $4.5 million over three years as a fine related to the use of workers who were in the country illegally.

The investigation included a raid by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency officials at the poultry processing plant at Live Oak in April 2008. The surprise work site enforcement and identify-theft investigation at the plant resulted in 27 workers being arrested. Similar operations were conducted at four other company locations in 2007 and 2008, resulting in 311 arrests in addition to those in Live Oak.

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