U.S. immigration agents raided two Ohio garden stores Tuesday and arrested 114 workers believed to be undocumented immigrants for alleged identity theft.
It was the largest such sting by Homeland Security and immigration agents in recent years.
The agents carried out raids at two separate locations of Corso’s Flower and Garden Center — one in Sandusky and the other in Castalia.
Along with the arrests, agents carried out boxes of what a spokesman called “a lot of documentary evidence” from one of the stores.
The investigation into Corso’s began in October when agents arrested a woman that they called a “document vendor” — someone who sells stolen identity documents to legal and illegal would-be workers.
The suspected vendor led investigators to Corso’s.
Immigration investigator Steve Francis said some of the documents in Corso’s files included the Social Security numbers of dead people.
Corso’s is not facing any criminal charges but is still under investigation. Francis said the garden center chain was obviously unaware it was hiring workers with falsified documents.
“If you are a legitimate business, you have nothing to be concerned about,” Francis said. “But if you are harboring or hiring illegal aliens, you will be identified, arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”