Poultry worker gets 2 years for false papers

Federal prosecutors say a worker at a Greenville poultry plant has been sentenced to two years in prison for using an alien registration card from another person for employment documents.

Prosecutors say 32-year-old Juan Francisco Martinez-Olivares pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft.

Authorities say two fellow workers at the House of Raeford Columbia Farms plant also pleaded guilty Wednesday to using false Social Security numbers when they applied for work.

Prosecutors say 28-year-old Nain Zarate-Camarero and 20-year-old Victor Cruz-Soto face up to five years in prison.

The workers were taken into custody before a raid at the plant this month that led to the arrest of around 300 suspected illegal immigrants.

In a February series about working conditions in the poultry industry, five current and former supervisors told the Observer that some House of Raeford managers knew they employed illegal immigrants. They said the plant prefers undocumented workers because they are less likely to question working conditions for fear of losing their jobs or being deported.

House of Raeford has denied knowingly hiring illegal workers. Federal law, the company said, requires it to accept documents that appear to be valid, and to be sensitive to nondiscrimination laws.

Staff Writer Ames Alexander contributed.