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Two accused of smuggling, exploiting undocumented workers

Two accused of smuggling, exploiting undocumented workers



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Two Orem men are facing federal court charges for allegedly smuggling undocumented workers across the U.S. border and exploiting them for cheap labor.

In court papers filed Friday, prosecutors say Jose Hernan Moreno-Sevilla and Alejandro M. Meza were paid to help a Peruvian man and others obtain illegal visas.

The Peruvian man and at least two others were "loaded into a rented truck" in Arizona and brought to Orem to work for Hernan's construction company, court papers show.

Each worker reportedly paid more than $10,000 for the move. While living with Hernan, each man worked up to 14 hours daily, over a six day week, earning just $9,500 annually.

According to court papers Hernan kept most of the wages and told the men they owed him the funds were to cover costs related to their "smuggling, housing and transporting."

Authorities discovered the situation in November during a traffic stop.

It's unclear how many workers may allegedly have been brought here by Hernan and Meza. Court papers estimate the two own about 16 homes in Utah County where immigrants have lived.

Both men were charged with transporting and harboring illegal aliens. The charges carry penalties of at least five years in prison and fines.

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Information from: Deseret Morning News

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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