Friday, July 04, 2008

Owner, supervisors of Houston factory charged with hiring illegal workers

A week after immigration agents detained 170 workers at Action Rags USA in Houston, Texas, the owner and four supervisors have been charged with knowingly hiring and employing illegal alien workers. U.S. Attorney Don DeGabrielle said the five not only hired illegal workers, they also knowingly accepted false documents as proof of citizenship.

Those charged include factory owner, Mabarik Hahlon, 45; his partner and uncle, Rasheed Ahmed, 58; manager Cirila Barron, 38; resource manager Valerie Rodriguez, 34; and warehouse supervisor Mayra Herrera-Gutierrez, 32.

Federal immigration agents conducted a major raid June 23 to investigate allegations that the company was employing illegal immigrants. The raid involved 150 to 200 agents.

The sign at Action Rags includes the phrase ropa usada, Spanish for "used clothing." A number of companies in Houston buy and sell used clothing, much of which is cut up for use as industrial rags. Action Rags U.S.A.'s Web site describes the company as a leading grader and exporter of used clothing. "We specialize in selling used clothes to worldwide markets" including Africa, South America and Asia, according to the Web site.

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