JACKSON, Miss. – Koch Foods filed a complaint with the US Attorney’s Office in Mississippi stating that the federal government illegally searched the company’s Morton, Mississippi, facility in August during the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid on the plant.
The company recently filed a motion to suppress evidence obtained during the raid on Aug. 30. In the latest 18-page memorandum, Koch Foods argued that the government found the information by suspicion and not probable cause, which is required by the Fourth Amendment.
“The affidavit is entirely founded on the presumption that, since certain persons who have been deported by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had previously worked at Koch Foods’ Morton Processing Plant, then it should be assumed that Koch Foods must have known that they were hiring unauthorized workers,” the complaint stated. “The affidavit goes no further than this to attempt to establish probable cause. The affidavit’s statistics and specific examples of deportees having a Koch Foods employment history are both statistically insignificant and anecdotal and, as a result, no ‘reasonably well-trained officer’ would have believed that a search based on this strained logic would be legal.”
Michael Dawkins, the attorney representing Koch Foods, wrote that the use of anonymous tips to establish probable cause must be given scrutiny.
The complaint also stated that the original affidavit said Koch Foods knew some of its employees were undocumented since some wore ankle monitors as part of the ICE’s Alternative to Detention (ATD) Program.
Dawkins wrote that supervisors at Koch Foods “cannot engage in discriminatory behavior by questioning Hispanic employees about ankle monitors while ignoring ankle monitors worn by white and African-American employees.”
He also said that the government should not be allowed to use the documents and electronic data, seized during the search. Plus, Koch’s property should be returned to the company under the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.
Currently no one from Koch Foods has been charged by the federal government regarding the raid.
After the initial raid in August, Koch Foods released a statement regarding its assistance during the federal investigation.
“Koch is diligent about its compliance with state and federal employment eligibility laws including being an early adopter of the government’s own E-Verify program which screens new hires through the Social Security Administration, as well as the Department of Homeland Security to ensure they are compliant,” the company said in its statement.