DETROIT (AP) — Federal agents raided a Detroit box company Tuesday and arrested one of its managers as part of an eight-month probe into the suspected hiring of illegal immigrants.
Edward Schlacht was released on a $10,000 bond after an appearance Tuesday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Detroit.
The 48-year-old Schlacht was one of several people arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents at the Grigg Box Co. on the city's west side. Schlacht was charged in a criminal complaint with continuing to employ unauthorized workers, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.
"We executed a search warrant and made multiple arrests as part of an ongoing criminal investigation," Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Khaalid Walls told The Associated Press. "Mr. Schlacht was arrested without incident. We made several administrative arrests of individuals we suspect are illegal aliens."
Schlacht's preliminary examination was set for Dec. 21. He will receive a court-appointed attorney.
No details were available on the other people arrested Tuesday.
Grigg Box Co. had no comment after Tuesday's raid. It was not yet clear if Schlacht was represented by an attorney.
The investigation started in February after a Homeland Security Investigations audit of hiring records identified 35 people who used suspected counterfeit documents to get their jobs.
Grigg Box Co. was notified about the suspicious documents and in a written reply said the workers had been fired, the government said Tuesday in a statement.
But surveillance showed that one of the terminated employees still worked at the company.
"Additionally, through the use of a confidential informant ... agents recorded Schlacht in the process of hiring an individual who admitted he was not authorized to work," according to the statement. "This individual was later paid by Schlacht in the form of an official payroll check from the company."
According to its website, Grigg Box Co. has been designing and manufacturing boxes and crates since 1932. It says it also provides government, commercial and military packaging services for domestic and export shipments.
"Employers who evade the law not only fuel the demand that is responsible for much of the country's illegal immigration, but their actions also hurt lawful workers who are seeking jobs in this challenging economy," Homeland Security Investigations special agent Brian Moskowitz said.