Not-guilty pleas entered in poultry-plant case

Seven workers at a Greenville poultry plant pleaded not guilty Thursday to using fake Social Security numbers and counterfeit documents to break immigration laws.

The House of Raeford Farms workers were arraigned in federal court. Bail was denied after authorities said the workers were in the U.S. illegally.

The seven workers are among a group of employees who tried to skirt immigration laws by using invalid alien registration and Social Security numbers, or listed other people's numbers as their own, according to federal court documents.

The company didn't immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

Simon Gutierrez-Gomez, Juan Macias-Rodriguez, Juan Juarez-Suarez, Guadalupe Neri-Templos, Evaristo Merino-Vasquez, Federico Torres-Perez and Juan Roman Macias-Rodriguez each face four charges, including fraud and misuse of visas, Social Security numbers and identification documents.

The federal investigation wrapped up after the Observer reported in February that 42 of 52 current and former Latino workers interviewed said they were in the country illegally.