Beef plant worker in fake ID case

by Erica Shaffer
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ST. PAUL, Minn. – A worker at a beef slaughtering and processing plant has been accused of arranging false identifications for at least 12 individuals, including a 14-year-old girl, according to court documents.

Mireya Reyes of Fairfax, Minn., an employee at Triple J Family Farms near Buffalo Lake, Minn., faces five counts of identity theft, unlawful employment and "the harboring of undocumented aliens employed at TJFF", according to the criminal complaint filed in US District Court. A call seeking comment from Triple J Family Farms was not returned.

Court documents state that St. Paul and the Renville County Sheriff's Office (RCS) had been investigating Reyes since March 2014. Surveillance operations conducted by law enforcement revealed Reyes transported others to the Redwood Falls Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) office to obtain Minnesota ID cards. The documents Reyes presented at DVS belonged to individuals other than the applicants Reyes helped in the application process, court documents stated.

"Many of these documents have been deemed altered, counterfeit or stolen," the border patrol agent leading the investigation wrote in the criminal complaint. In July, a license technician observed Reyes completing identification applications for three females. Law enforcement authorities arrested two of the three women in September. The women are Guatemalan nationals living in the United States without proper immigration paperwork, according to the complaint.

Interviews revealed that one of the women is a 14-year-old girl, identified only as J.R.D., working at Triple J Family Farms under a false identity. The girl said Reyes charged her $150 for helping her obtain a Minnesota ID card. A Homeland Security investigator later found a copy of a Sun Country Airlines "Release Unaccompanied Minor" form, in which Mireya Reyes was listed as the "parent or guardian receiving minor." The second female arrested was later identified as the aunt of J.R.D. She told investigators that Reyes drove her to the DVS office and charged her $150 for help obtaining a Minnesota ID card.

A total of 10 Triple J Family Farms workers were arrested on Sept. 18, according to court documents. Five of the workers told investigators Reyes helped them get Minnesota ID cards using false identities. The border patrol agent said he witnessed or received reports of Reyes assisting at least 12 individuals with identification applications. He wrote that “all of the 12 identities used in these applications are stolen identities of real victims.”

Triple J Family Farms has not been charged with any crimes. The company specializes in kosher and Halal beef processing.
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