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Homeland Security arrests more than 100 in sweep of Erie County business

7 Jun

ERIE COUNTY, Ohio (WTVG) – Special Agents with the Homeland Security Investigations announced that more than a hundred suspected illegal immigrants were arrested Tuesday morning during a planned at an Erie County gardening and landscaping company.

The business, Corso’s Flower and Garden Center, was the subject of search warrants. Armed Border Patrol agents were posted outside the entrance to the business in Sandusky as search warrants were served. A second location in nearby Castalia was also searched.

“We arrested over 100, we suspect, were illegal aliens in the United States working at Corso’s Flower and Garden Center,” Special-Agent-in-Charge Steve Francis said.

The Immigration and Customs Agency tells 13abc it expects criminal charges involving identity theft and tax evasion to be filed, but no charges against the employer were filed as of Tuesday at Noon.

13abc was the only television news journalists at the location as the searches happened. We are told the raid was part of the Trump Administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration.

“We seized a lot of documentation evidence,” said Francis. “We are looking at harboring illegal immigrants, as well as impersonation of a U.S. person and aggravated identity theft.”

Officials tell 13abc that they believe this has been going on for several years and that 28 illegal immigrants have been arrested since 2012, claiming that they work for Corso’s.

Francis said they are looking to identify what criminal network brought in more than 100 illegal immigrants to Ohio to work.

“I guess this is a message to the legitimate businesses that you have nothing to fear, but if you are hiring illegal aliens then you will be identified, arrested and prosecuted,” Francis said.

The people arrested are in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Sandusky. Officials say they will go through an interview process to determine if they will face any criminal charges.