The Plymouth County Sheriff's Office executed a federal search warrant northwest of Le Mars Thursday morning, reports Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo, putting seven people in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.
Officers and agents were conducting the search for people who are alien in the United States without legal authority, Van Otterloo said.
The federal search warrant included the premises at 11448 Keystone Avenue and 31144 C-12 in rural Le Mars, owned by Michael Vander Windt.
"We received information from individuals living in the area about the possibility of illegal aliens working in the area," he said. "We passed that on to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement group in Sioux City."
They'd been investigating the possibility for two weeks, he said.
The properties being searched included Vander Windt's residence and hog confinements operated by him.
It is alleged, Van Otterloo said, that the illegal aliens were employed by Vander Windt at the time of the search.
The raid, he said, was very peaceful and involved 10 vehicles including people from ICE, the sheriff's office and state of Iowa investigators.
"The owner of the operation was extremely cooperative," Van Otterloo said. "There was no incident of any kind."
The seven who authorities say are illegal aliens were taken to Omaha by federal authorities.
"Three of the seven are looking at federal charges for falsifying documents, then they would be deported," Van Otterloo said. "The other four will face direct deportation."
The individuals most recently resided in Le Mars and Sioux County, he said.
Information developed by the ICE agents had been received through the Plymouth County Sheriff's Office, Van Otterloo informed, and a request for assistance was made by him for assistance.
The investigation is continuing.