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INS raid at trash hauler results in 78 arrests

December 10, 1996

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ Immigration agents raided the city’s garbage-hauling company at daybreak Tuesday and arrested 78 suspected illegal aliens, about one-third of the work force.

A law enforcement officer apparently fired a shot at the tires of a car fleeing from Deffenbaugh Industries, but no one was hurt and the car got away.

The illegal workers _ most of them from Mexico and some from Central America _ were taken to jail and will be flown to Mexico on Thursday, the Immigration and Naturalization Service said.

City Public Works Director Don Elliot said that trash would be picked up with Deffenbaugh’s remaining employees and that temporary workers had been hired. ``It is possible that citizens may see some delays,″ he added.

Two-thirds of Deffenbaugh’s 38 trucks were on the street, said Bob Sink, manager of environmental quality with the Public Works Department. Apparently, all of those arrested were helpers, rather than drivers, he said.

Deffenbaugh officials at the company’s Shawnee, Kan., headquarters had no immediate comment.

INS agents and other officers raided the plant after an investigation that began in January, when agents were tipped that the company may have been employing illegal workers, the agency said.

At least 70 workers were found to have fraudulent Social Security numbers, said Jerry Heinauer, INS director for Nebraska and Iowa.

Deffenbaugh took over the city’s garbage collection from another company in 1995. About 70 workers went on strike in October, accusing Deffenbaugh of refusing to negotiate with the Teamsters.

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