Accused illegal immigrant smuggler in Tyson case makes deal in court

Monday, January 7th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) _ A man accused of being the leader of an immigrant smuggling ring for the nation's largest poultry producer pleaded guilty Monday to a conspiracy charge as part of a deal with prosecutors.

Amador Anchondo-Rascon's plea carries a maximum possible sentence of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and forfeiture of any gains from the alleged conspiracy with Tyson Foods Inc. that prosecutors contend started in 1994.

U.S. Attorney John McCoon declined to say if the 43-year-old native of Mexico would testify against six Tyson executives indicted last month on charges of conspiring to smuggle illegal immigrants to work at the company's poultry processing plants. Anchondo-Rascon is a former Tyson's employee who now operates a grocery store in Shelbyville.

U.S. District Judge R. Allen Edgar set a May 20 sentencing hearing for Anchondo-Rascon. Edgar also told Anchondo-Rascon his sentence would depend partly on how much he helps prosecutors.

A Jan. 24 hearing has been set for the former Tyson executives. Convictions carry minimum five-year prison sentences.