The Latest: Warrants for 17 issued in immigration operation

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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The Latest on a large federal immigration operation targeting businesses in Nebraska and Minnesota that officials say knowingly hired and mistreated immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally (all times local):

4:20 p.m.

Federal officials say a series of arrest warrants have been executed for 17 people charging them with fraud and money laundering in Nebraska and Minnesota in connection with a scheme to exploit immigrant workers who were in the country illegally.

Officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's investigative arm, Homeland Security Investigations, say 14 of those people are in custody, and three others are being sought.

More than 130 workers were also arrested as officials served search warrants at agricultural businesses in Nebraska and Minnesota.

Officials also searched for documents at several places in Nebraska and at pork producer Christensen Farms in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota; Appleton, Minnesota; and Ainsworth, Nebraska. A home in Las Vegas also was searched.

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3:40 p.m.

A large federal law enforcement operation has targeted businesses in Nebraska and Minnesota that officials say knowingly hired - and mistreated - immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally.

The investigative arm of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement led the operation Wednesday that saw 14 business owners and managers and 130 workers arrested. Most of the arrests were in northern Nebraska and southern Minnesota. Homeland Security Investigations special agent in charge Tracy Cormier described the operation as one of the largest in its 15-year history.

Cormier says the focus of the operation is a business that knowingly offered for hire immigrants in the country illegally to other businesses, including farms, meat processors, grain companies and restaurants. Cormier says owners and operators of those businesses that hired the immigrants also were targeted for arrest.

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