Bedford County Asks for ICE’s Help on Illegal Immigrant Activity

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At least three Bedford County commissioners are concerned about what they say are alleged instances of drug deals, prostitution, gambling, and human trafficking at a local venue for Mexican rodeos and horse races.

One of the commissioners wrote a letter to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement describing their concerns about what is known as the Rancho La Herradura in Bell Buckle.

This commissioner has asked that The Tennessee Star not identify him, at least not at this time.

“According to witnesses, neighbors and constituents, the said rodeo consisted of typical events consistent with a rodeo with the exception, according to sources, of gambling, drug sales, drug use, underage girls and weapons,” the commissioner wrote.

“Other sources have told me the underage girls are part of prostitution and/or human trafficking operation which is prevalent both in Bedford County and neighboring Rutherford County.”

No one at Rancho La Herradura returned The Star’s repeated requests for comment Tuesday.

The commissioner went on to say an Omar Edgar Torres-Rangel, possibly known as Edgar R. Torres, attended a rodeo late last month.

“In an intoxicated state, Mr. Torres drove his vehicle north bound in the southbound lane of State Highway 231 where a head-on collision killed a Bedford County resident Keri King, age 29,” the commissioner wrote.

“Criminal charges are pending against Torres, who is recovering in the hospital.”

According to The Shelbyville Times-Gazette, Torres-Rangel was on the wrong side of a divided highway and was previously drinking.”

“King’s car was knocked into a vehicle driven by Abigail Madeo, 23, of Shelbyville, who was also southbound in the other lane. Madeo was injured,” the paper reported.

“The busy highway was blocked for approximately an hour due to the crash.”

“I am certain there will be another casualty with the rodeo being a direct corollary (to) such actions,” the commissioner told ICE agents.

In the letter, the commissioner also referenced authorities raiding a cock fight in August and arresting seven people. More than 100 people attended the cock fight, the commissioner said.

“Weapons, drugs and gambling were present,” the commissioner wrote.

According to the Times-Gazette’s account of the incident, law enforcement officials discovered hundreds of game birds on the property.

The commissioner also referenced the local Tyson Food Products, which the commissioner said employs numerous low-pay level employees.

“The majority of employees live in the abundance of Section 8 housing units located in Shelbyville. The crime reports indicate a disproportionate number of 911 calls originate from those areas,” the commissioner told ICE.

“Reliable sources tell me the units are used by illegals from which drug activity, crime, and weapons are openly displayed.”

No one at the Bedford County Sheriff’s Department returned The Star’s repeated requests for comment Tuesday.

In the letter to ICE the commissioner went on to say several commissioners are “fed up with the lack of local enforcement of the laws and statutes.”

“We are willing to openly request your help,” the commissioner wrote.

“It is a pathetic excuse for me to fail to act and perform my duty as an elected official until an innocent victim has to die.”

In an emailed statement, ICE spokesman Bryan D. Cox said his agency will not comment on the existence or absence of any potential investigation — at least until if and when criminal charges get filed.

“While a person may choose to disclose they’ve contacted this agency to provide information, we are not able to discuss what, if any, investigative activity may or may not be underway as a result of any information in the possession of this agency,” Cox said.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to

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14 Thoughts to “Bedford County Asks for ICE’s Help on Illegal Immigrant Activity”

  1. […] As The Star reported, earlier that evening, Torres-Rangel left a Mexican rodeo in Bell Buckle called Rancho Le Herradura while he was apparently intoxicated. […]

  2. Frank

    They should call the competent authorities and not put them on notice. commissioner so silly put them on notice started with the sale of drugs, prostitution,
    etc. and I end up with undocumented people, “will it be racism”?

  3. Frank

    They should call the competent authorities and not put them on notice. commissioner so silly put them on notice

  4. […] As The Star reported, one county commissioner wrote a letter to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement describing concerns about Rancho La Herradura. […]

    1. FRANK

      to present the evidence to the corresponding authorities to act and not to put them on notice

  5. lb

    HOW do illegals get Section 8 housing? This is ONE thing Gov Lee could do IMMEDIATELY–order an Audit of ALL welfare agencies who operate in the State and go to PDT and tell him he wants an IMMEDIATE audit of HUD housing, WELFARE, SNAP, Medicare ETC.
    Then ICE needs to raid ALL Tyson plants in TN. They raided one in N Ga when we lived there and 99% of the employees were illegal., They shut the plant down for a week and then made Tyson advertise a hiring event which ICE attended and supervised. THOUSANDS of Americans lined up and were interviewed by local news. They had wanted to work at the plant for years but Tyson refused to hire them because the illegals would work for less, no benefits, etc and if they got hurt, wouldnt complain.

    1. Amy Lou

      They get section 8 because of the anchor baby of which every household has at least one. Sometimes they rent a BIG HOUSE and rent “floor space” to other illegals. They hang blankets to mark off each person’s living quarter. They pool their money and different women take the same children back to the food stamp office and get Snap benefits which they sell. They pool their money for cars too. The children gives them FREE INSURANCE too. What the working class has to pay for the illegals get for free. Good luck on stopping this invasion which has been encouraged by the last administration.

      1. Pam white

        I have never been so tired if all you hear illegals coming to Bedford County taking over our restaurants housing schools churches stores you name it they’ve took it over.Us this America or Mexico…We want our town back..This town looks filthy and in ready to see it cleaned up from all these illegals …..

        1. FRANK

          ask Native Americans they have your answer

      2. frank

        they should investigate and if they committed fraud the authorities should act

    2. Shelley Napier

      The issue is that if there is an overabundance of illegal immigrants in your community, it is likely created by an employer that wants the cheapest labor. If Tyson management and owners were put in jail for this, things would change quickly. Instead, the Tyson management are treated like pillars of the community.

  6. Ralph

    Informing ICE of potential illegal aliens is the duty of every American. That’s fine. But asking for federal-level intervention on criminal activity such as prostitution and gambling sends the wrong message vis-a-vis state sovereignty – we are able to clean up our own mess. If the county sheriff’s department is inept or corrupt, that’s when the state needs to step in, not the Feds.

    1. L. B>

      Oh Really? This has been a known mess in this county/City\state for many years. The main root is not prostitution and gambling. The root is illegals and that is why the commissioner has contacted ICE.

  7. Kevin

    Why didn’t these Commissioner’s feel like they could contact Governor Hislam to investigate and resolve the issue? Was it because Tyson is one of Hislam’s ECD recipients who can’t make it without cheap illegal labor? Thank God, the voters of Tennessee rejected LaRaza Randy, and elected Bill Lee as our next Governor. In the recent midterm elections, Tennessee led the Nation by holding and elevating a Republican-led government. With new Leadership across the board, it’s now time for our Tennessee government to start acting the part!