.Sheriff’s Office makes 28 arrests in Mesa bread factory raid
Fake Stolen Social Security Numbers: Sheriff’s Joe’s Office makes 28 arrests in Mesa bread factory raid
by John Genovese – Jul. 14, 2011 11:30 AM
The Arizona Republic.
At least 28 arrests were made at a Mesa bread factory after the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant at the bakery around 11 a.m. Thursday.
Officials said 31 people are suspected of being in the country illegally and that they had used false identification documents, mainly Social Security cards, to gain employment at the Alpine Valley Bread Company, near Country Club Drive and Southern Avenue.
“These investigations zero-in on people who have provided false identification,” Arpaio said. “It’s a class 4 felony.”
Approximately 50 to 60 employees were working inside the bakery when the raid occurred, and as of 3:00 p.m., the Sheriff confirmed 28 arrests had been made. The Sheriff’s Office is still investigating but believes 26 of those people are in the country illegally. The other two arrested are U.S. citizens with outstanding warrants, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
The Sheriff’s Office had been investigating the factory for the past two-and-a-half months. Arpaio declined to comment on how the agency was tipped off to the factory.
The agency’s raids have drawn mixed criticism from citizens across Arizona.
One individual driving by the factory yelled profanities at Arpaio as others shouted in support.
A Tempe man brought his 8-year-old son to the scene as an educational opportunity.
“This is something that I wanted him to see and learn from,” said Mark Calderon.
Arpaio reiterated several times that the raids targeted identity fraud, and denied that he was racially profiling anyone.
“We’re number 1 in the nation for false identification, and that’s who we’re arresting,” he said. “All I do is enforce the law.”
According to Arpaio, people opposed to the raids should contact lawmakers. It’s unclear whether or not the employers at the bread company will face any charges.
“We have to prove employers know fully and willingly hired them,” Arpaio said.
Arpaio said his office has cited only three employers in the 48 business raids it has made over the last three years.
“I think I’m doing something for the president and the economy since we have a big unemployment,” Arpaio said.
None of the individuals arrested have yet been identified. Check back with azcentral.com for updates.
Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2011/07/14/20110714mesa-sheriff-arpaio-raid-bread-abrk.html#ixzz1SFpam7tf