'They lost a family member': ICE arrests five people at Morganton business

MORGANTON, N.C. — Immigration agents arrested several people in Burke County Wednesday morning.

A manager at Case Farms in Morganton said ICE agents took five workers into custody around 10 a.m.

Carissa Cutrell from Homeland Security Investigations in Charlotte told our news partners the Morganton News Herald agents arrested seven men -- six citizens of Guatemala and one of Mexico.

She said five men were at Case Farms in Morganton and two others were at its Goldsboro, North Carolina location.

ICE sent Channel 9 a statement following the arrests saying, "The individuals arrested by HSI had previous criminal histories ranging from aggravated identity theft to illegal re-entry of a convicted and deported aggravated felon."

The Western North Carolina Workers Center told Channel 9 immigration officers were following deportation orders.

"Case Farms takes its immigration compliance very seriously," according to an email from a spokesperson for Case Farms in the News Herald. "The Department of Homeland Security visited Case Farms' Morganton facility today with a list of employees they wanted to interview. Through this interview process, they detained five individuals and no further action is anticipated."

Local law enforcement said they did not know ICE agents were in the area or were planning to make arrests Wednesday. They added they were not contacted by federal agents.

Agents brought the workers from Morganton and the two other people to Charlotte.

(Surveillance photo shows ICE agents knocking on door)

Immigration officers also went to neighborhoods in Morganton. One of those was off High Ridge Drive, where more than 40 percent of the residents are Hispanic.

One of the residents shared surveillance video with Channel 9's Dave Faherty of the officers arriving shortly before 6 a.m. and you can see them going to one of the homes and knocking on the door.

(Immigration officers seen on surveillance video approaching mobile home)

Channel 9 spoke with Carlos Jerez from United with DREAM, who spoke with two of the families who had loved ones detained.

"They're crying right now," Jerez said. "They didn't even know that yesterday was the last day they were going to see their grandpa, their father. As of today, they lost a family member that they are never gonna see again."