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Ohio labor contractor pleads guilty in scheme involving immigrant minors

September 18, 2018

Pablo Duran Ramirez pleaded guilty Monday in US District Court in Cleveland to encouraging the illegal entry of Guatemalan nationals, including unaccompanied minors, into the US for financial gain, the Department of Justice reported. He is the fourth defendant to plead guilty in connection with a labor trafficking scheme that forced Guatemalan minors to work at egg farms in central Ohio.

Duran Ramirez, through his company, Haba Corporate Services, contracted to provide labor to Trillium Farms, knowing that the workers were unlawfully present in the US, according to the department. In 2013 and 2014, Trillium Farms paid Haba Corporate Services approximately $6 million for its labor services.

“This defendant profited off the desperation of children and their parents and other relatives,” said US Attorney Justin Herdman for the Northern District of Ohio. “He knew some of the workers he delivered to Trillium Farms were underage, in the country illegally and were threatened or coerced. We will continue to work to eliminate human trafficking in all its forms.”

Duran Ramirez faces a sentence of up to 10 years in prison at his sentencing date set for Jan. 7, 2019.

Three other defendants — Aroldo Castillo-Serrano, of Guatemala, Ana Angelica Pedro-Juan, of Guatemala, and Conrado Salgado-Soto, of Mexico — previously pleaded guilty for their roles in the same labor trafficking scheme. Castillo-Serrano, the lead smuggler and primary enforcer, was sentenced to 188 months in prison; Pedro-Juan, who oversaw the victims in Ohio, was sentenced to 120 months; and Salgado-Soto, a subcontractor hired by Duran Ramirez, was sentenced to 51 months.

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