Friday, June 15, 2007

Fresh Del Monte Confirms Customs Visit (AP)

CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Fresh Del Monte, a top pineapple seller and banana producer, on Wednesday confirmed agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office visited its Portland, Ore., plant.

On Tuesday, more than 165 plant workers were detained to be processed for possible deportation, officials said, and three people were indicted on immigration, illegal documents and identity theft charges.

The raid occurred at American Staffing Resources Inc. offices at a Fresh Del Monte Produce fruit and vegetable processing plant, and was based on an investigation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Social Security Administration that began in January, officials said. Separate American Staffing offices also were searched, along with a Fresh Del Monte office.

Fresh Del Monte said it was advised it is not a current target of the investigation and will cooperate with the probe. The company also said it retained American Staffing Resources to provide a contingent labor force at its Portland plant.

Fresh Del Monte shares fell 18 cents to $23.98 in morning trading.

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