Immigration Raid Reveals Meth Lab At Nation's Largest Kosher Meat Plant

According to KCRG, officials discovered a methamphetamine lab within the AgriProcessors meat processing facility in Postville, Iowa during a large-scale immigration raid. 389 arrests were made by federal agencies from what is thought to be one of the largest immigration enforcement actions ever taken in the United States. Details, inside…

AgriProcessors, founded by Aaron Rubashkin, an Hasidic Orthodox Jewish butcher and rabbi from Brooklyn, supplies over half the kosher meat sold in the United States. On May 12th agents executed criminal search warrants for aggravated identity theft and the use of fraudulent Social Security numbers. There were 697 warrants and 389 arrests. Currently, officials aren’t certain as to who exactly was operating the meth lab.

One former plant supervisor alleged that over 80% of the floor employees were illegal aliens from Mexico, Guatemala and Eastern Europe. Additionally 3 of their rabbis, whose job it is to supervise the kosher slaughter of livestock, were Israelis who were also illegally employed.

The local government has tripled its courtrooms and assigned temporary personnel to help quickly process the large number of detainees. Those who are facing criminal charges have been assigned lawyers. Those not facing criminal charges will have a hearing in front of an immigration judge who will decide if that person can stay in the country. If the judge orders deportation then that detainee will return to their home country almost immediately unless they appeal.

AgriProcessors is no stranger to controversy. In 2005 PETA released hidden video footage of inhumane practices within this same Postville facility. Then in 2006, the company was fined $600,000 for environmental damages caused by raw sewage released in the area.

The large magnitude of this operation must be a massive strain on the town and the detainees. We’re glad to see that officials are trying to speed up the process so that the detainees won’t have to wait long to see an immigration judge. AgriProcessors’ resume already includes animal abuse, raw sewage pollution and illegal workers, but for us, the meth lab is the icing on this awful cake. We can only hope that these recent events stimulate a positive change at AgriProcessors, but we won’t hold our breath.

Immigration Raid: Officials had Inside Source [KCRG]
Immigration Raid: Over 300 Face Charges [KCRG]
Agriprocessors [Wiki]
Feds: Drugs made at kosher meat plant [Jewish Telegraph Agency]

(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. OK, there’s no way THAT was Kosher. It does explain why after eating those hot dogs the other day I cleaned the outside of my house with a toothbrush.

  2. B says:

    Great, now where am I going to get my Kosher meth from?

  3. dragonfire81 says:

    Oy gehvalt!

  4. silencedotcom says:

    I had to read a book that involved this plant before I entered my freshman year of college. I hated Postville then, and I hate it now!

  5. Bladefist says:

    ugh. So the illegal immigrants get a trial, to determine if they are deported or not. And they can appeal. Being an illegal immigrant is enough, but being involved with a Meth Lab. I understand a trial to determine guilt for the Meth, thats fine. But if we know they’re illegal, deport’em. Don’t waste tax dollars on any more then gas down to Mexico.

  6. BlackFlag55 says:

    Kosher meth … (big grin)

    Reminds me of the ‘Special’ you could get at the drive through window of OJ’s chicken take out joints in LA. “I’ll have a bucket of wings and The Special”. “That’s $425 at the next window, sir.”

  7. akalish says:

    All the more reason to buy from local farmers…

  8. bobpence says:

    Just doin’ the drugmaking Americans won’t do. (Wait, is this

  9. HalOfBorg says:

    Hey now – we do that work. We just charge more!
    Check it out:

  10. Erwos says:

    Not a surprise. There is more and more evidence that Rubashkin’s is really not managing their plant(s) very well. There is a very good chance that they’ll have their kosher certification pulled if they’re found guilty of anything.

  11. Asvetic says:

    If I learned anything from Breaking Bad, it’s that you can have a Meth lab anywhere…

  12. KassiaIdomeneus says:

    Bladefist, guilty until proven innocent, much? 80% are estimated to be
    illegal. That means some have to show they’re not illegal. In a huge
    bust like this they probably just rounded up everybody with no thoughts
    or consideration. Also, certain illegals can be made legal through
    certain protections like claiming refugee status
    and things of the sort. I like how republicans like to repeat the
    definition of illegal as if everyone doesn’t already know what it means.

  13. After being told about this story via IM by theblackdog

       urban bohemian: Wow.
       urban bohemian: I’m not so keen on immigration raids, but a meth lab?!
       theblackdog: that’s definitely not kosher
       theblackdog: *ducks*
       urban bohemian: …

    ’nuff said.

  14. savvy9999 says:

    some criminals just don’t know when to quit. Either do the identity theft scam, or the meth lab, not both.

    Geez, the US can’t even make crooks right anymore.

  15. Trai_Dep says:

    Well, the Torah doesn’t mention methamphetamine, so thankfully, the meat processor won’t lose their kosher certification. Since re-certifying would be such a headache!

  16. apotheosis says:

    I like how republicans like to repeat the definition of illegal as if everyone doesn’t already know what it means.

    Well as long as we’re starting political flamewars: It’s not we think you don’t know what it means, we just don’t think you give a damn.

    *dons asbestos armani*

  17. Priam3 says:

    So what happens to the Jewish people that had been eating non kosher food from this place?

  18. MayorBee says:

    Wow, who knew the “Higher Authority” was Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. I always thought they were referring to Yahweh.

  19. nutrigm says:

    Wow! Yet another reason to turn veggie! What’s up with all the posts today?

  20. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    @Trai_Dep: If the animal cruelty allegations were true they should have lost it anyway.

    @MayorBee: Isn’t that the Hebrew National Ad?

  21. wgrune says:


    Republicans wouldn’t have to keep repeating the definition of illegal if the word was understood and appropriate actions were taken against the criminals (Yes, I said criminals. Breaking the law makes you a criminal).

    Also, it is highly unlikely that refugee status would be granted to anyone from Mexico or Guatemala. This country denies that status and sends immigrants back to way worse places then down south on a daily basis.

  22. hamsangwich says:

    @B: @B: @dragonfire81:

    ha ha, Kosher Meth.

    Seriously though, this is unbelievable. Time to shut down this plant and try again some other time. If the animal abuse doesn’t get enough attention, how about a freakin’ meth lab? I have to think they should qualify as worst company ever. As bad as BOFA is, I doubt they have abused animals and started meth labs.

  23. bsalamon says:

    well, now the price of kosher meat is going up. yipee. Its times like these I wish for the old days of local butchers.

  24. Bladefist says:

    @KassiaIdomeneus: republicans? wtf? this is my opinion, did the GOP release a statement I don’t know about? Don’t bring politics into everything. you’re either a legal citizen or you’re not. Give them the chance to prove they are, if they are, if they aren’t deport’em. That easy. By the way, Democrats love to eat poop. Today is ‘Make everything political with retarded generalizations day”

  25. So any of the people running AgriProcessor getting arrested for knowingly violating the immigration laws of the country or are the Rabbis getting a free ride?

  26. Bladefist says:

    @wgrune: Being a criminal makes you a victim. The law process is highly stressful, and unfortunately, most criminals are punished. They should be made citizens and be put on welfare, because republicans are bigot racists who destroy America. When Illegals are making Meth, that is also illegal, and selling it illegally, and perhaps to kids, that is because their mother didn’t love them enough, and America needs to love them. Democrats want to help, and empower these awesome people. (And get their votes)

  27. Bladefist says:

    @apotheosis: what is “dons asbestos armani?”

    Also good point.

  28. MikeGrenade says:

    Bladefist I don’t know how we got on this tirade but the bottom line is this country has a due process – Deporting people on sight is NOT it.

  29. Juggernaut says:

    I think that’s “puts on firesuit”

  30. wgrune says:


    While I agree that American Citizen or not they deserve due process, my problem is that that due process in this case will end up way more complicated then it needs to be.

    These cases should be easy to decided. “Can you prove your US citizenship? Yes or no?

    What is there to appeal? You either are or you arent, there is no middle ground here…

  31. It’s no surprise that some workers resorted to meth production to supplement their income, given the horrible working conditions and low wages at AgriProcessors. That’s no excuse, however, just an explanation.

    If the only folks who are arrested are the workers themselves, then this was a complete waste of time and money. AgriProcessors management participates — mob-style — in a known “snakehead” network that has filed for thousands of EW-3 visas through the Dept of Labor. These are visas given to workers that take jobs that otherwise go unfilled, usually because the employer keeps wages artificially low. Many of these immigrant workers appear at their jobs for just a few days or weeks and then take their shiny new visas and go AWOL. The bottom of the barrel (i.e. those w/o visas) usually have no choice but to stick around and take AgriProcessors’ $5-$6 an hour wage.

    First, arrest the management and do a full investigation. Then, we need true immigration reform (i.e. guest worker program, NOT citizenship) and universal enforcement; sending these poor folks back through the revolving door will never solve the problem.

  32. MayorBee says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: Yeah, it is the Hebrew National tagline. I’m just a goyim that doesn’t know one kosher company from another.

  33. tph says:

    @wgrune: wow, so anyone who is not an american citizen should immediately be deported?

    So long tourism.

    Also green cards.

    Ever notice how the rush to “outsourcing” seemed to really kick in just as the government started making it really hard and expensive to hire foreign workers?

  34. Bladefist says:

    @wgrune: thank you, thats what i was trying to say. I wasn’t trying to say they don’t serve that. Whether its court, or something less formal, you either are or you aren’t. SS#? Visa? No? PEACE OUT!

    @tph: What are you babbling about? Tourist can come here with Visas and passports. We are not against LEGAL immigration. Hell, my gf is from Korea, she will probably become a citizen, LEGALLY. Americans love legal immigration. I’ve seen a lot of talented people from a lot of countries come over here and start a life.

    Legal Immigration + Capitalism + Secured Country = Success

  35. Bladefist says:

    To Add- Currently there is a Cap of the maximum amount of immigrants who can become legal citizens. I say triple that CAP, and deport all the Illegals, and if they want to come back in, put them last on the list. I am all for legal immigration.

  36. tph says:

    @Bladefist: I was responding to this statement in wgrune’s post:

    These cases should be easy to decided. “Can you prove your US citizenship? Yes or no?

    The implication being that non-US citizens are not wanted.

    Obviously, there are lots of people with sense who are in favour of legal immigration. However, there must be plenty of american’s who aren’t otherwise it would not be so bloody difficult for people who are willing to work to come to the US and do so.

    It’s hard to believe that you are truly in favour of legal immigration if you still believe that there should remain a “list” for people to be put “last on”.

  37. wgrune says:


    Yeah, because I said we shouldn’t let tourists into this country anymore. I was speaking about this specific situation. Quit putting words into my mouth to sensationalize the topic.

  38. Bladefist says:

    @tph: Anyone over the cap, would be put on a waiting list for the next year. First come – First Serve. Some people in Washington think that if you came here illegally, you should still get citizenship, and be put at the top of the list, since you are already here. I am saying, boot’em out, and let them start the bottom of the list.

  39. MisterE says:

    “..but they’re only here to work and make a better life for themselves…..”

  40. teapartys_over says:

    @Bladefist: Interestingly, according to Fast Food Nation, many meat processing plants run buses from Mexico to bring illegal workers to their plants and work for lower wages. So you may want to direct some of your outrage in their direction, too.

  41. @Bladefist: I understand a trial to determine guilt for the Meth, thats fine. But if we know they’re illegal, deport’em.

    @wgrune: Can you prove your US citizenship? Yes or no?

    1) Not having your birth certificate in your wallet does not prove you’re here illegally, even if you have brown skin.

    2) When there’s have a database that supposedly has more than 300,000,000 names in it, you can bet there are tens (or maybe even hundreds) of thousands of errors and omissions. You know at least that 1% of our citizens are in the margin of error, right?

    3) I’m sure your papers are in order, so you have no problem ruling the masses with an oppressive fist of heartless iron. But that’s not what America is about.

  42. tph says:

    @Bladefist: #1 – why should there be a cap? #2 – why should someone who was born elsewhere, but brought to the US (illegally) as a child, be forced to leave the only home they’ve ever known? (yes, I know that this is a very specific example, and that most of the people in this particular case wouldn’t fall under it – my point is that when you are talking about things like deportations, very little is black and white).

    @wgrune: I responded to the specific words in your post. If you had said something along the lines of “Can you prove your legal right to work in the US?” I wouldn’t have had a problem. When people start to lump in “citizenship” with legality, I, as a non-citizen working in the US, start to get a little nervous.

  43. Bladefist says:

    @tph: I’m not sure we need a cap. But if there is no cap, then we need other requirements. To start, speaking English. Also it would help if you had something to bring to this country, and were not coming here for our welfare system, and soon to be universal unhealthcare.

  44. Bladefist says:

    that was a dumb statement, we already have requirements. Legally, it can be a huge pain in the ass to become a citizen. But its a pain in the ass in all the GOOD countries that anyone would want to move to.

  45. @Bladefist: To start, speaking english.

    Is that fragment a joke?

  46. tph says:

    @Bladefist: If people are arrested at their place of work, would it not stand to reason that they probably have something to offer (in exchange for wages) and aren’t coming to the US to the welfare?

  47. Bladefist says:

    @tph: Well if their place of employment isn’t making meth, maybe.

    @Michael Belisle: I don’t have time to impress you with my english skillz.

  48. tph says:

    @Bladefist: point taken ;) Though it would be interesting to find out how many of the employees were actively involved in the meth operation.

  49. MikeGrenade says:

    Then maybe it’s time we started discussing your removal from this country, unless you would like to begin wielding the language properly.

  50. Bladefist says:

    @MikeGrenade: A quick glance at your comment history shows you’ll be getting removed with me. hahaha

  51. mikey07840 says:

    I volunteer as an EMT in a city of 30,000. Half of our ambulance calls are for intoxicated illegal aliens. (They are intoxicated on the streets, often passed out. In our state we cannot bring intoxicated persons to jail, only to the hospital emergency room.) They have no ID on them. They do not speak english. They are often verbally and physically abusive to our squad members. (They often need to be restrained by the police in order to transport them.) My ambulance squad brings them to the hospital where they receive free care that is paid for by taxpayers in our state. We find out later from the hospital that they have housing and jobs. They just don’t pay taxes, follow laws or pay hospital bills.

    They are eligible as illegal aliens for all kinds of welfare programs. (Because they work under the table, they technically make no money.) Because nobody will arrest them for being illegal, they have a screw you attitude. Laws do not apply to them. They live in overcrowded apartments so that they can send home all the money they make under the table. When they get in drunken fights with each other, we are often called in to provide care. I have yet to see anybody press charges, so nobody goes to jail.

    From what I have seen, it’s great to be illegal in the USA. Except for tax paying citizens.

  52. bohemian says:

    @tph: Most of the people here illegally are working poor thus qualify for aid. Then there is the drain on health care and public schools.

    I really do think that in most of these cases the management and ownership of these companies need to be escorted in cuffs along with the illegal workers. This one and the Swift plant in MN are systematic, not the odd illegal worker.

  53. mikey07840 says:

    @tph: When they work under the table, they pay no taxes. They get free medical care at the hospital ER. They send almost all of their money to their home country. They often work full time off the books and are on welfare. They are above the law. When arrested, if released on bail they simply disappear.

  54. Bladefist says:

    @mikey07840: Your story is probably a pretty common story. And with 30,000 people, I would say you have a much smaller problem then some of the large cities. These are the stories the left don’t want to hear. You get these people on welfare, and leave’em alone, it promises votes, and retains a need to keep increasing taxes.

  55. tph says:

    @mikey07840: If they are identity thieving SSNs, chances are they are not working under the table. And if they aren’t working under the table, then the employer is at least paying their end of the payroll taxes, which means they are probably also withholding the employees end of the payroll taxes.

    And just because somebody is intoxicated, non-anglophonic, and not carrying ID, does not mean that they are illegal immigrants. Have you followed up on all of these cases?

  56. Orv says:

    @teapartys_over: It’s a nice idea but it won’t happen. The companies that employ illegal workers are also big contributors to the GOP. It’s politically convenient to rail against the workers themselves but turn a blind eye towards the employers that hire them. Think of it as an underground guest worker program — every so often they raid someplace and deport a bunch of people to make it look like something is being done and placate conservative voters, then they make sure the company doesn’t face any real punishment so the campaign contributions and cheap labor can keep coming.

  57. micasaessucasa says:

    Ever seen the movie interpretation of Eric Schlosser’s book Fast Food Nation…if don’t understand, you should read the book and see the movie. It is almost like he knew all these things were going on years ago…o for a day when books like The Jungle and Silent Spring actually did change things.

  58. Bladefist says:

    @Orv: Yea I’m sure Bobs Lawn Service is sending the GOP billions. I’m guessing the companies that make enough money to donate enough money to buy politicians, are probably not the small local companies who are breaking these laws.

    You’re on the wrong side of logic. And, if you were right, which you’re not, then you would be for attacking the companies, which would trickle down to the legal employees, and not go after the the people who actually broke the law in the first place. Some of the business owners don’t even know they’re illegal.

    Any logic would be to go after both. But as far as buying off the GOP, that is retarded.

    And if you were going to buy off a party, that deals mostly with these laws, wouldn’t you buy off the one that is the majority in congress? Who was that again?

    Nice conspiracy theory mel.

  59. Bladefist says:

    @Bladefist: Also, why would you spend money to buy off the GOP to save money on labor? Wouldn’t it be cheaper just to pay Americans? More logic you’ll probably hate.

  60. What surprises me is the lack of media attention to this event, given the relative importance that immigration has been given as an election-year political issue. CNN, Fox News, etc. have barely any mention of this event, a story which contains both a substantial issue and a ripe target for the type of sensationalism that most news outlets like to peddle. Why the lack of coverage?

  61. Bladefist says:

    @AtomicPlayboy: All 3 candidates relatively have the same belief system on illegal immigration. Attacking all 3 of them on that issue is pretty pointless.

  62. @Bladefist: Yeah, I suppose you’re right on that one, and as such there’s no controversy to make the story interesting. Of course, we can’t expect any straight-up, objective journalism around the story, so it’ll just be ignored.

  63. Orv says:

    @Bladefist: I’m not talking about Bob’s Lawn Service. I’m mostly talking about industries like meat packing and construction that have powerful lobbies.

    I single out the GOP because it’s always the Republican voters like you that complain loudest about this issue, without realizing their own party is playing the for fools. As we speak we’re spending millions of dollars on building a fence that the Republican congress pushed through, a fence that won’t do anything but enrich contractors. As long as the re are people willing to hire them the illegal immigrants will find a way to get here, fence or no fence. The real solution is to punish the corporations that hire these people, but that’s anathema to the GOP.

  64. teapartys_over says:

    @Bladefist: But what about specifically the meat packing companies that are sending buses down to Mexico to pick up illegal immigrants for cheap labor? Surely they are knowingly breaking the law, and on a much larger scale than an individual who crosses the border illegally. Also, they’re lowering the wage pool for everyone who is here legally. It’s much easier to exploit workers when they have no right to be here in the first place. U.S. citizens tend to be real pests about being paid a fair wage and allowed bathroom breaks and stuff.

  65. Bladefist says:

    @teapartys_over: @Orv: Fully Agree we need to crack down on the companies ALSO. However, I do not believe in any GOP conspiracy theories. I do agree GOP is reluctant to go too hard on businesses, because then legal citizens get hurt. However, I am all for realistic fines and such to punish companies. But you cant go too far.

  66. Bladefist says:

    But they are reluctant due to option, not being bought out.

  67. teapartys_over says:

    @Bladefist: It seems like you’re worried that companies not be punished too harshly because it could affect the company’s legal workers. But I feel that if they aren’t punished harshly enough, they will continue to see it as a cost of doing business and continue to use/import illegal workers. And that will continue to keep pay and working conditions poor for the legal workers, because they have no leverage (illegal workers will do more for less money and fewer safety requirements, etc.)

  68. ClevelandCub says:

    @mikey07840: While I don’t know your specific situation I have to question a few things… how do you know your patients are illegals? how do you know they are being paid under the table? Presumably all of the illegal workers at this plant were being paid “above board” – paying taxes, social security, etc. through a normal payroll process.

  69. HeartBurnKid says:

    @wgrune: I’m glad you’re not in charge, because my dad would have ended up back in Greece and I would never have been born. INS lost his records, and he no longer had them since his adoptive father threw them out (good guy, that one; glad I never met him). He had to present his Navy records in order to (indirectly) prove he was a citizen.

  70. BrucePhaethon says:

    There was never a meth lab there. If there was, the feds would have shut us down right away. It was listed in the affidavit that there was a supposed meth lab there. The only reason that was stated was so the feds could get a search warrant right away. If any of you know anything about the laws, government, and etc; you would have realized that right away. On this website it states that KCRG reported them finding a meth lab. If you go to KCRG’s website and read all of their articles on this subject, you will find that it does not state in one single article that a meth lab was found. I think this website needs to get their facts straight before reporting.

  71. hamsangwich says:

    Guys, why don’t you just save some time and set-up a teleconference to argue?

  72. TechnoDestructo says:


    Online equivalent of laughing at your own joke.

  73. mikelotus says:

    @wgrune: if a kid is brought over here illegally by his parents, is he breaking the law too? He is an “illegal” immigrant after all.

    @mikey07840: Clearly you are a misinformed bigot. Most illegal and legal immigrants have a lower rate of crime than the general population (first generation only). They do pay taxes if they are working and Social Security and Medicare. And us legals get that money for Social Security and Medicare because they will never be eligible for those payments. Illegal immigrants are actually helping keep Social Security and Medicare much more solvent than it would be with out them. And they are not eligible for welfare or any such benefits. You are just plain wrong but then bigotry is a form of ignorance.

    @Bladefist: See above bigot #2.

  74. Bladefist says:

    @mikelotus: You must be an Obama supporter. Anyone who disagree with something that deals with non-white people, means you’re a bigot.

  75. mikelotus says:

    @Bladefist: Lies like “You get these people on welfare, and leave’em alone, it promises votes, and retains a need to keep increasing taxes.” shows that you are a bigot. Like “welfare queens.” Illegal immigrants are not, have not and do not receive welfare. Disagree is fine. Lying shows you are a bigot.

  76. Bladefist says:

    @mikelotus: You always hate what you dont understand?

  77. BigElectricCat says:

    @Bladefist: “But if we know they’re illegal, deport’em. Don’t waste tax dollars on any more then gas down to Mexico.”

    I’m sure you recognize that not all illegal immigrants are from Mexico.

  78. Bladefist says:

    @BigElectricCat: Of Course. And all the Illegals should be deported equally. :)

  79. BigElectricCat says:

    @Bladefist: To where, precisely? You appear to be suggesting that all illegals be deported to Mexico, regardless of their country of origin. Perhaps you would oblige me by clarifying your position.

    I’m sure I needn’t bring up the case of the mentally ill young man from California who was forcibly deported to Mexico last year — even though he was a US citizen.

  80. Bladefist says:

    @BigElectricCat: Deported to your original country.

  81. BigElectricCat says:

    @Bladefist: And if they don’t feel like telling ICE where it is? Then what?

  82. elanne says:

    Very Interesting. Looks like just about everyone here realy believes this story. They probably also had “weapons of mass destruction” stockpiled in a corner of the warehouse.