Man pleads guilty in charge linked to 2019 immigration raids at Mississippi food processing plant


A trailer loaded with chickens passes a federal agent outside a Koch Foods Inc., plant in Morton, Miss. Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019. U.S. immigration officials raided several Mississippi food processing plants on Wednesday and signaled that the early-morning strikes were part of a large-scale operation targeting owners as well as employees. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A man who worked as an employment services contractor at a Mississippi poultry processing plant pleaded guilty Monday to a federal charge connected to one of the largest workplace immigration raids in the U.S. in the past decade.

Salvador Delgado-Nieves, 58, of Pelahatchie, pleaded guilty to harboring a person who was in the U.S. illegally, according to court records.

In August 2019, authorities arrested 680 mostly Latino workers at multiple poultry processing plants in central Mississippi.

Just before the one-year anniversary of the raids, federal authorities announced the indictment of Delgado-Nieves and three other people who had worked as executives at two poultry plants.

Delgado-Nieves was indicted in February 2020 on multiple charges, but court documents initially were sealed. He pleaded guilty Monday to a single charge. Sentencing is set for Sept. 15. Delgado-Nieves faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Delgado-Nieves was a manager for Southern Knights Industrial Services, which provided employee management and payroll services to the A&B Inc. processing plant in Pelahatchie, according to a statement from Darren J. LaMarca, acting U.S. attorney for southern Mississippi, and Jack P. Staton, acting special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in New Orleans.

He is the second employee of Southern Knights Industrial Services to plead guilty to a charge connected to the workplace raids. Iris Villalon, 45, of Brandon, pleaded guilty in April to aiding and abetting the harboring of a person who was in the U.S. illegally. Federal authorities said she was the owner of the contracting company. Villalon’s sentencing is set for Aug. 19. She also faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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