114 suspected illegal immigrants arrested in raids of Corso's Flower and Garden Center
Acting on two federal search warrants, Immigration and Customs Enforcement took 114 people into custody Tuesday morning.
All of them are accused of being in the country illegally and working at Corso's Flower and Garden Center.
About 150 Homeland Security Special Agents, US Border Patrol Agents and members of the IRS blocked off the street nearby and raided two locations in Sandusky and Castalia.
Homeland Security in Ohio says it had tips over the last 8-10 years about the business, but an investigation gained traction over the last six months, including an audit inspection.
"When the audit results came back, we identified over 100 employees that had some sort of issue with the documents that were provided with their identities, such as duplicate social security numbers, social security numbers belonging to other U.S. persons, etc," said Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security in Ohio, Steve Francis.
While nobody from Corso's would comment on the raid, the business was back open later in the day.
At this point, there have been no U.S. citizens arrested.
"If they have a criminal history or they've met the aggravated identity theft threshold, we'll charge them with aggravated identity theft. Then, we're going to continue to pursue to see if the employer was involved or if any other criminal networks were involved in smuggling these individuals into the United States and ultimately Ohio," stated Francis.
NBC 24 was able to speak to a family member of someone who was arrested.
Wishing to remain anonymous, she says he was deported Tuesday.
"My soon to be brother-in-law was deported this morning. He was brought here as a young boy. He's worked at Corso's for many years. They paid him good money. By no means did they pay him what they think immigrants should be paid. They paid him good money. He did a good job and worked hard to provide for his family. He's got a six-month-old daughter."
Some of the charges ICE will be pursuing against Corso's include harboring illegal aliens, aggravated identity theft and unlawful employment of aliens.