Charges, filed earlier this month against top officials of an organic-farming business in Duvall, accuse them of knowingly hiring illegal immigrants.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office has filed felony and misdemeanor charges against top officials of a national organic herb grower in Duvall, saying they knowingly hired illegal immigrants.
The charges, filed earlier this month, accuse HerbCo and its owner, Edward (Ted) Andrews III, and employees David Lykins Jr. and Debra Howard of aiding and abetting illegal immigrants, as well as harboring, inducing and encouraging them to reside in the U.S.
Almost half of the 120 employees of the company’s 200-plus acre farm, along West Snoqualmie River Road in Duvall, were illegal immigrants, KING5 said in a Thursday broadcast.
Immigration officials, who conducted the original investigation in the case, declined on Thursday to comment, referring all calls to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
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Under the Obama administration, immigration investigators no longer conduct splashy work-site raids in which they arrest large numbers of illegal immigrants. Rather, they use audits of employment records to stealthily target employers who hire them.
HerbCo was founded in 1992 by organic-farm owners, and its products — ranging from arugula and basil to tarragon and thyme — are sold in more than 2,700 supermarkets in 20 states. The land it farms is certified organic by the Washington State Department of Agriculture.
On its website, the company boasts of being the first in the Northwest to provide local, certified-organic, fresh herbs year round. In recent years, its has launched or acquired operations in four other states.