Rancher Pleads Guilty to Smuggling ‘Slave’ Laborers, Will Pay $1.5 Million
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A rancher accused of smuggling Mexicans across the border and enslaving them pleaded guilty Friday to reduced charges and agreed to pay $1.5 million to the workers.
Edwin Mitchell Ives pleaded guilty to conspiracy, harboring illegal aliens, transporting illegal aliens and four labor violations in exchange for the government dropping slavery and extortion charges.
Ives, 53, faces up to 18 years in prison and $800,000 in fines when he is sentenced this summer by U.S. District Judge Consuelo B. Marshall.
His Los Angeles firm, Griffith-Ives Co., also pleaded guilty to racketeering and wire fraud counts. Ives and his company agreed to pay $1.5 million restitution to victims.
The rancher and his employees smuggled more than 100 illegal immigrants to work for paltry wages in flower fields on ranches Ives owns in two Southern California counties, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Alfredo Jarrin.