Federals agents on Tuesday raided and detained about 300 people they believe to be illegal aliens working at House of Raeford’s Columbia Farms poultry plant in Greenville, S.C. — an operation that one immigration official today called the biggest workplace raid ever in the Carolinas. Investigators were poring over employment documents and conducting interviews to gather evidence in what U.S. Attorney Walt Wilkins said will be an ongoing investigation into House of Raeford’s employment practices.
Several workers began running for the doors as agents raided the processing plant at about 8:50 a.m. Tuesday. “I had to duck back into the bathroom to keep from getting trampled,” janitor Herbert Oscar Rooker said. About 450 officers were involved in the raid. The raid marks the biggest move yet in a 10-month federal investigation into hiring practices at the processing plant. In recent weeks, seven supervisors at the plant have pleaded guilty to falsifying employment documents. A human resources manager faces 20 counts of felony immigration fraud.