Swift Meatpacking Plants Running After Tuesday Raids

Operating at reduced levels after 1,300 arrests.

DENVER (AP) - Swift & Co. meatpacking plants in Greeley and in five other states were running at reduced levels on Wednesday, one day after nearly 1,300 employees were arrested in a massive immigration sweep that temporarily halted operations, the company said.

Greeley-based Swift, which calls itself the world's second-largest meat processor, said operations had resumed at reduced levels on Tuesday at the plants in Greeley; Grand Island, Neb.; Cactus, Texas; Hyrum, Utah; Marshalltown, Iowa; and Worthington, Minn.

In a written statement, Swift said all shifts were operating at all the plants on Wednesday but production was expected to be below normal in the short term.

The statement did not say how much production was lost Tuesday or how long it would be before it returned to normal.

Company officials did not immediately return a call.

The six plants represent all of Swift's domestic beef processing capacity and 77 percent of its pork processing capacity.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in Washington said a total of 1,282 people were arrested at the plants in what the agency described as a crackdown on an identity-theft scheme.

But ICE said 1,217 of the detainees were being held on immigration charges alone and only 65 were facing identity-theft or other criminal charges.

The agency said more charges were possible as the investigation continues.

No charges were filed against Swift. President and CEO Sam Rovit has said the company has never knowingly hired illegal workers and does not condone the practice.

Privately held Swift & Co. once operated as ConAgra Meats Co., the fresh beef and pork processing business of ConAgra Foods Inc. It changed its name after private equity firms bought it in 2002.

The trade publication Cattle Buyers Weekly estimates Swift has the capacity to process 15,850 cattle per day and about 46,000 hogs per day, editor and publisher Steve Kay said.

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