By: Michelle Bandfur
Investigators said a group of undocumented residents and U.S. citizens exploited illegal aliens working at plants.
O’NEILL, Neb. — The U.S. Attorney’s office began laying out its case against 17 defendants charged with conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Most of the 17 suspects accused in the exploitation of undocumented workers appeared in federal court in Lincoln Thursday.
Federal prosecutors said they played a part in an elaborate plot to defraud the government and take money from undocumented workers.
- Juan Pablo Sanchez Delgado, aka “Pablo,”
- Antonio De Jesus Castro, aka “Tony,”
- Magdalena Castro Benitez, aka ”Nena,”
- Alma Hernandez Moreno, aka “Aunt,”
- Anayancy Castro Hernandez, aka “Anay,”
- Fabian Castro, aka “Fabi,”
- Suni Sarahi Sanchez Delgado
- Osvaldo Sanchez Delgado, aka “Lalo,” aka “Lalito,”
- John Christopher Good,
- *Aracely Heredia Martinez, aka “Donita,”
- Eric Beringer,
- Christopher Thurlow,
- Mayra P. Jimenez Castellon,
- Asiyadeth Jimenez Castellon,
- John Glidden,
- Jaime Garcia Cota, aka “David,” and
- Lillian Ajin.
Court records show as part of the conspiracy, Juan Pablo Sanchez Delgado, an alien, Magdalena Castro Benitz, an alien previously removed and deported from the United States to Mexico, and Antonio De Jesus Castro, a son of Magdalena Castro Benitez, who was born in the United States set up two companies. “JP and Sons” and “J Green Vally” for the “purpose of providing unlawful employment to aliens in Nebraska, Minnesota, and Nevada.”
The indictment also shows Delgado would advertise his phone number and available jobs over Facebook.
It also reveals Delgado had contracts with Elkhorn River Farms and O’Neill Ventures, which owns a tomato plant where ice agents converged Wednesday. Delgado would allegedly work with supervisors, Eric Beringer and Christopher Thurlow to employ workers, who are not in the country legally.
The investigation reveals from January 1, 2015 to July 17, 2018, Delgado controlled $8 million worth of transactions at the Great Western Bank in O’Neill. DACA recipient Anayancy Castro Hernandez works at the branch and is accused of helping Delgado cash the paychecks.
The indictment also shows Delgado required his employees to cash their paychecks at his O’Neill grocery store, El Mercadito.
It says he would withhold money from those checks telling undocumented workers it was for federal taxes, but he kept the money.
The court records said the group also used part of the millions to buy property in Nebraska and Las Vegas to house undocumented workers.
The group would also tip each other off, if there was any ICE activity in O’Neill or by the plants.
If convicted, the suspects could be sentenced to 10-30 years in federal prison and/or a fine of $500,000 or double the amount of what was laundered.