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IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE FINES GEORGIA COMPANY OVER $1 MILLION, 'OPERATION PEACH HARVEST'

 IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE FINES GEORGIA COMPANY
 OVER $1 MILLION, 'OPERATION PEACH HARVEST'
 ATLANTA, Feb. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Special agents of the Atlanta District Office of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) today issued a civil fine of $1,151,190 to Lane Packing Company located in Fort Valley, Ga.
 The fine culminated an investigation by INS agents from Atlanta and Del Rio, Texas, and agents of the Department of Labor, announced Thomas P. Fischer, district director of the INS Atlanta office.
 INS agents successfully infiltrated a major smuggling ring originating in Mexico which was involved in the smuggling of illegal aliens to various destinations in Georgia, Florida and North Carolina. The ring was estimated to be smuggling over 250 aliens per month into the United States, primarily from Mexico. On June 29, 1991, INS agents conducted an enforcement operation at Lane Packing and adjacent locations and apprehended over 130 illegal aliens. All of the individuals have gone through deportation proceedings and have been removed to their home country, Mexico.
 Fischer said, "This will put a major dent into illegal employment activities in the Southeast, and also cripple a major smuggling ring." Four employees of the Lane Packing Company were arrested and convicted of various criminal acts, including alien smuggling, selling false documents, giving false statements, and illegal entry into the United States. These four employees were sentenced in U.S. District Court, with sentences ranging from five years probation to 10 months incarceration being administered.
 This is the largest civil fine ever levied by the INS against an employer in the United States. Lane Packing Company and its parent company, Southern Orchard Supply Company, is one of Georgia's largest peach harvesters and packagers. This company was found to be in violation of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) which requires employers to verify the employment eligibility of all employees hired after Nov. 6, 1986.
 Additionally, this smuggling operation, which has been operating for over two years, has generated, through either alien charged transporation costs, the selling of false documents, rent and utility assessments, and employment fees, over $2 million in illicit payments.
 -0- 2/7/92
 /EDITOR'S NOTE: A press conference is scheduled today at 10 a.m., MLKing Federal Building, Room 117, Atlanta./
 /CONTACT: Thomas P. Fischer, district director of the U.S. Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service, 404-331-2788/ CO: United States Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization
 Service; Lane Packing Company; Southern Orchard Supply Company ST: Georgia IN: SU: EXE


BR -- AT002 -- 8044 02/07/92 08:19 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 7, 1992
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