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3 Smithfield Foods Workers Sentenced for Immigration Violations

Three people arrested a year ago at a Smithfield Foods Inc. processing plant in Bladen County have been sentenced to federal prison for immigration violations, authorities said Tuesday.

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WILMINGTON, N.C. — Three people arrested a year ago at a Smithfield Foods Inc. processing plant in Bladen County have been sentenced to federal prison for immigration violations, authorities said Tuesday.

Twenty-one suspected illegal immigrants were arrested at the plant in Tar Heel on Jan. 27, 2007, following a lengthy investigation into the use of false identification documents by plant workers. Investigators determined that 18 of the 21 were illegal immigrants who had assumed others' names and Social Security numbers.

Abimale Sanaoz-Vasquez, Benito Gutierrez-Lopez and Jose Ramirez-Martinez pleaded guilty in November to fraud and misuse of documents. They were each sentenced to 18 months in prison and three years on supervised release.

Senior U.S. District Judge James Fox also ordered each to be deported at the conclusion of their prison term.

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