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Inside the takedown: Erie County ICE raid investigation traces back to Marion document mill

Using stolen identities or information of the recently deceased, Social Security cards and birth certificates were produced for people looking to work at Corso's Flower & Garden Center.

Sandusky, Ohio -- Before the workday ever began, the American experience ended today for 114 workers in Erie County.

The raid by ICE that's likely to send most of these men and women back to Mexico began not in Sandusky, but 65 miles south in Marion, Ohio.

It was there federal agents say 44-year old Martha Buendia-Chavarria operated a document mill.

Photo: Lucas County Sheriff's Department

By stealing identities of those in Puerto Rico or using the information of the recently deceased she produced Social Security cards and birth certificates for people looking to work at Corso’s Flower & Garden Center.

"She would help somebody that was looking for some fraudulent documents to turn into an employer," according to Immigrations & Customs Enforcement spokesman Khaalid Walls.

Tonight Channel 3 can report that the 114 people have been taken to three destinations: St. Clair County, Michigan, Seneca County, Ohio and to the Youngstown area.

But what about Corso's Flower and Garden Center?

As viewer Marie Ellis asks: “Will the owners be penalized for knowingly hiring undocumented immigrants? And how many jobs are they really going to open now that they will have to pay at least minimum wage?”

Sources tell Channel 3 tonight, the company was flagged for paying Uncle Sam payroll tax for only half their employees. We are told managers or owners are likely to face charges of harboring illegals and fraud.

"Today's effort was essentially the opening salvo of the investigation,” Walls said. “There's a considerable amount of investigation that has to follow this."

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