Homeland Security Agents Raid Alma Manufacturer

ALMA (KFSM) -- Homeland Security raided the Bryant Preserving Company in Alma on Wednesday ( Sep. 12), where dozens of suspected illegal immigrants were taken into custody.

ICE agents served a search warrant at the canning company early Wednesday morning.

A Homeland Security spokesperson says that they served the warrant as part of an existing criminal investigation, but once inside, more people than expected were detained.

A family member of one of those taken into custody, Carlos Picazo, spoke out about what happened to 5NEWS. He says his father in law was one of the employees inside Bryant Preserving taken into custody by Homeland Security agents.

"He was just working decently, and that happens and it shocks you," Picazo said.

Nearly 30 people were taken into custody, but agents say that doesn't mean they will all be detained. Since the arrest, some people have been released. Agents say it will be on a case by case basis.

"Our personnel were at the location today in pursuant into an ongoing criminal investigation, and in the course of that happen to come across unlawfully present foreign nationals. So, while the agency's focus today were for a federal criminal investigation, we will not turn a blind eye if the course of that this agency comes across individuals in violation of federal immigration laws," ICE Spokesman Bryan Cox told 5NEWS.

We reached out to the owner of Bryant Preserving Company, who said the company follows the law by complying with mandated identification verification. He says though some employees were part of the investigation, it doesn't necessarily mean the company is being investigated.

ICE agents say it will now be up to the U.S. Attorney's Office to determine if any criminal charges will be filed against the company.