SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Officials with Dakota Beef, Howard, S.D., have pleaded guilty to federal charges that it knowingly hired 15 illegal immigrants in 2007 and 2008 to work at its organic meatpacking plant, according to The Associated Press. Prosecutors will recommend that a judge fine the company $37,500, according to a plea agreement filed Feb. 3 in U.S. District Court in Sioux Falls.

Seven of the workers are being prosecuted on identity theft-type charges and the other eight people are at large or being processed for immigration violations, said U.S. Attorney Marty Jackley. A court filing against one of the employees describes a June 24 immigration raid at the plant in which Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents executed arrest warrants and several Hispanic employees ran out of the plant.

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