A former plant supervisor at Agriprocessors Inc. who fled to Israel after an immigration raid on the plant led to charges that he exploited illegal immigrant labor has been returned to the U.S. and jailed.
Hosam Amara, 48, a night shift supervisor on the poultry side of the Agriprocessors plant in Postville, Iowa, faces 25 counts of harboring illegal immigrants and two counts of document fraud.
He appeared in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, May 3 and was ordered to be jailed after prosecutors said he was a flight risk. His trial is scheduled to begin July 1.
Federal agents raided the plant five years ago and arrested 389 workers for being in the U.S. illegally (Feedstuffs, May 19, 2008). The workers were sentenced to five months in prison, and most then were deported.
A consequent investigation led to 86 charges of document fraud and violations of the Packers & Stockyards Act that were brought against Agriprocessors vice president Sholom Rubashkin. He was found guilty and sentenced to 27 years in prison (Feedstuffs, June 28, 2010).
Amara and his family fled to Israel, where he holds citizenship, and was arrested in 2011 by Israeli officials responding to an extradition request from the U.S. He was returned to Cedar Rapids May 2 after losing his final appeal.
At the time of the raid, Agriprocessors was the largest kosher beef and poultry processor in the U.S. In the aftermath of the raid, the company declared bankruptcy, was sold to an investor and is now doing business as Agri Star.