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Ex-kosher meat plant manager pleads not guilty

May 3, 2013 at 8:37 PM

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa, May 3 (UPI) -- A former manager of a kosher slaughterhouse in Iowa who fought extradition from Israel, pleaded not guilty Friday to charges he harbored illegal immigrants.

Former Agriprocessors manager Hosam Amara, 48, pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids to one count of conspiracy to harbor undocumented workers for profit, 24 counts of harboring and aiding and abetting the harboring of undocumented workers for profit, one count of conspiracy to commit document fraud and one count of aiding and abetting document fraud, The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette reported.

Amara was indicted in 2008 but fled the country. He was arrested in Israel in 2011 and returned to Iowa in March.

Dubuque lawyer Steven Drahozal was appointed to represent Amara, the newspaper said.

Prosecutors sought to have Amara detained until his trial and that his passports be withheld from him.

Another former Agriprocessors manager charged in the case, Zeev Levi, remains a fugitive and is believed to be in Israel.

Former Agriprocessors vice president Sholom Rubashkin, 52, was convicted on dozens of counts of bank, mail and wire fraud, money laundering and failure to pay livestock providers in a timely manner.

Several company supervisors and managers also were convicted, and 389 workers were convicted and many deported, The Gazette said.

The Postville plant, which had been the largest kosher meat processing facility in the nation, is now under new ownership and operates as Agri Star.

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