Following the release of the first activist video shot at Fair Oaks Farms, the local sheriff’s department issued warrants for the four individuals involved. One of those employees, Edgar Gardozo-Vasquez, 36, was arrested this week and according to ICE officials was working in the country illegally – a startling reminder than the e-verify system is broken.
Nicole Alberico, a spokeswoman for ICE in Chicago, confirmed to IndyStar that deportation officers placed an immigration hold on Gardozo-Vasquez on Wednesday.
Gardozo-Vasquez, who is from Mexico, was arrested by the U.S. Border Patrol in 2005, Alberico said. He then was allowed to voluntarily return to that country. Fair Oaks Farms is listed in the E-Verify database as a participating employer. And according to a the IndyStar, the farm worked with a law firm to ensure proper documentation.
He was taken into custody Wednesday on a warrant for charges of animal cruelty, a misdemeanor, and torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal, a felony, the Newton County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. He is being held in the Newton County Jail.
Three ex-employees face charges
Gardozo-Vasquez, 36, worked at Fair Oaks Farms. Farm founder Mike McCloskey said last week that four employees who were shown in the first video released by the Animal Recovery Mission were fired.
The video shows Fair Oaks Farms workers beating calves with metal bars, burning them with branding irons and throwing them into huts and trucks.
Fair Oaks Farm Supply Company is listed in the E-Verify database as a participating employer. E-Verify is an online tool that employers can use to verify the identity and immigration status of job applicants.
“Every employee is required to and provides a Social Security number and all appropriate legal documentation for employment to our company,” Fair Oaks said in a statement to IndyStar. “We work with one of the U.S.’s leading farm labor law firms, Davis & Goldfarb, to provide that documentation to the federal government.”
What the videos show
The Animal Recovery Mission, a Miami-based animal welfare group, has released three videos showing workers abusing calves and using drugs at Fair Oaks Farms.
The latest video, which was posted to Vimeo late Tuesday, shows graphic images of alleged abuse toward sick and injured cows as they’re being milked.
The animal rights group also indicated that more video showing conditions at Fair Oaks and the treatment of its animals would be released in the near future.
Gardozo-Vasquez, 31-year-old Santiago Ruvalcaba Contreros and 38-year-old Miguel Angel Navarro Serrano face charges after ARM released the videos taken at Fair Oaks Farms, Indiana’s largest dairy operation.
There are still outstanding warrants for Ruvalcaba Contreros and Navarro Serrano, the sheriff’s office said.