U.S. immigration officials on Tuesday sent about 200 law enforcement agents to raid two flower and gardening stores near Sandusky, Ohio.
Law enforcement officials arrested 114 people at two locations of Corso’s Flower & Garden Center, according to the Associated Press, which first published a story about the arrests and released exclusive photos of the raid.
The photos show some officers wearing camouflage gear rounding up dozens of women. The AP said the officers on the ground were assisted by aerial surveillance.
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“No workers were seen running as about 100 law enforcement officials established a perimeter. A voice on a radio called attention to specific employees who might try to flee, but none did,” according to the AP.
Photographs from the raid show officers wearing uniforms from multiple law enforcement agencies, including Homeland Security Investigations, Customs and Border Patrol, and some plain clothes officers wearing bullet proof vests that read “police.”
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement told the AP it expected to file criminal charges that included identity theft and tax evasion:
Of the 313 employees whose records were examined, 123 were found suspicious and targeted for arrest and criminal charges of identity theft and, in nearly all cases, tax evasion.
A Los Angeles attorney who represents businesses on immigration matters, in an interview with the AP, questioned why the government conducted the operation in this style, with about 200 agents and aerial assistance.
“Government is overreaching and trying to make a big splash, instill fear in the business community and immigrant communities and make the headlines,” attorney Josie Gonzalez told the AP. “It’s a tremendous use of resources to accomplish that purpose.”
The attorney may be onto something: the Trump administration will likely not be able to surpass the Obama administration’s record number of deportations because of new policies and sanctuary protections. Trump’s administration had fewer deportations in its first year than Obama’s.
Still, the Trump administration excels at instilling sheer terror and separating families.
Authorities told the AP that no criminal charges have been filed against Corso’s, but the employer is under investigation.