Foley farm at center of migrant worker investigation

Farm Forum

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A family-owned vegetable farm in Foley is at the center of an investigation into exploitation of migrant labor from the Dominican Republic.

Prosecutors allege an Ohio man was part of a conspiracy to bring workers to Svihel Vegetable Farm with false papers, force them to pay illegal fees then threaten to send them back home if they didn’t keep quiet.

The Star Tribune reports ( ) that Wilian Socrate Cabrera, of Cleveland, was indicted in June with conspiracy to commit visa fraud.

Federal agents say he recruited workers, then collected about $90,000 in illegal recruitment kickbacks from them.

Cabrera’s attorney didn’t immediately return a call to The Associated Press on September 15. But his brother, Jose Cabrera, told the Star Tribune that his brother is innocent.

The farm owners aren’t charged.