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U.S. may oust four

Four illegal immigrants - including a juvenile - face deportation after authorities arrested them near Milnor, N.D., where they worked for the state's largest dairy operation.

Four illegal immigrants - including a juvenile - face deportation after authorities arrested them near Milnor, N.D., where they worked for the state's largest dairy operation.

The three adult immigrants made their initial appearances late Thursday in Fargo's U.S. District Court, where Magistrate Karen Klein informed them of their rights.

Salvador Guillen-Luna, 28, Octavio Reyes-Gallardo, 25, and Leonardo Luna-Perez, 21, each face a charge for possessing counterfeit immigration documents.

The juvenile, whose name is not public, will face a similar administrative hearing. If convicted, the three adults and juvenile likely will be deported.

Klein told the immigrants, with the aide of an interpreter, they'll remain in jail until hearings next week.


The immigrants can waive the hearings, which will be used to determine whether they must remain in custody until the conclusion of the cases.

Court records state North Dakota Highway Patrol Officer Mitch Rumple stopped outside Milnor on Wednesday when he encountered four people trying to repair a vehicle on the side of a highway.

Because the immigrants spoke little English, Rumple sought help from U.S. border patrol agents.

Border Patrol Agent Jesus Huerta interviewed each immigrant over the telephone. Court records say they told Huerta they were from Mexico, not legally in the United States and working at Five Star Dairy in Milnor.

The immigrants each had counterfeit resident alien cards, according to an affidavit from Senior Patrol Agent Wesley Coleman.

Rick Millner, general manager of the corporation that owns Five Star Dairy, said he was unaware of the arrests when contacted by a reporter.

Five Star Dairy employs 17 full-time workers with a starting wage of $29,000 for laborers, Millner said Thursday.

Millner said his company's officials don't have the expertise to identify counterfeit documents.


"It's not the first one we've ever had," he said. "We have everything (documents) we're supposed to get."

Occasionally, an illegal worker shows up with what appears to be legitimate documents, he said.

"We demand proper paperwork," Millner said. "How do you tell the difference?"

If the immigrants arrested Wednesday by border agents are illegal, the company is hurt because of time and money spent training them, he said.

The operation started in 1997 before closing about two years ago. Five Star Dairy reopened last fall after receiving a state permit to import up to 1,650 cows from South Dakota, where the parent company, MCC Dairy, is based.

MCC Dairy also owns dairy operations in Minnesota and South Dakota. Millner said more needs to be done to help agricultural companies legally hire immigrant workers.

Wayne Carlson, dairy director for the North Dakota Department of Agriculture, said Five Star Dairy received the highest grade permit possible for dairy operations.

Before opening, state authorities found no violations at the Milnor plant during its initial inspection test Sept. 21. There were only a few minor violations - for a faulty toilet door and dust in its lunch room - during a follow-up inspection Dec. 20.


"We have had no complaints about this dairy operation," Carlson said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Steven P. Wagner at (701) 241-5542

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