090301 Meat Supervisor Is Sentenced In Illegal Immigrant Case

March 7, 2009

Postville, IA - A former supervisor at Postville's kosher meat plant will serve nearly two years in federal prison for his efforts to help and harbor illegal immigrants, prosecutors announced Wednesday.

Martin De La Rosa-Loera, 43, was among the first midlevel employees arrested after the May 2008 raid on Agriprocessors Inc. The Mexican national, who came to the United States illegally but later became a lawful resident, pleaded guilty last year to one count of aiding and abetting the harboring of undocumented aliens.

De La Rosa-Loera oversaw about 70 workers in the poultry department, prosecutors said. In May 2007, he told illegal workers they would need to change their Social Security numbers and names to continue working at the plant. The workers also needed to "start over" for a wage of $6.25 an hour, prosecutors said.

In April 2008, De La Rosa-Loera received a list of employees he was told needed to be fired because their Social Security numbers were fraudulent. But his supervisors told him the six most valuable employees could stay if they got new identification documents, prosecutors said.

De La Rosa-Loera directed the lead person under his supervision to get new identification papers, and have five others do the same. The six then allegedly were allowed to continue working.

De La Rosa-Loera was sentenced to 23 months in prison at a March 3 hearing in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids. He also must spend two years on probation.

U.S. District Judge Linda Reade increased his sentence because of his oversight role in the offense, and the harboring charge involved more than 100 illegal immigrants. Prosecutors said the investigation is continuing.