It turns out that crime does pay, especially for state police agencies.
Immigration raids at Aquila Farms in Bad Axe, Mich., made the news several years ago. The case ended with dairy farmer John Verhaar and his wife being put on probation and fined $2.7 million for hiring illegal immigrant workers. Read more about the case here, including an exclusive interview with Verhaar.
However, the story doesn’t end there.
According to a report by the Detroit Free Press, two state police agencies received more than $500,000 for helping the federal government investigate hiring practices at the dairy.
The funds were presented last week to the Michigan State Police and Huron County Sheriff's Office by the U.S. immigration and Custom Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
"HSI is proud to recognize the key role that our equally important county and state law enforcement partners played in bringing this significant worksite enforcement investigation to a successful resolution," William Hayes, acting special agent in charge of HSI Detroit, said in an agency new release.
Both agencies received nearly $287,000.
For the Huron Country Sheriff’s Office. in particular, the money will help improve equipment and more.
"The Huron County Sheriff's Office is a small rural department with limited resources, some of which were used to assist with the HSI investigation into Aquila Farms," Huron County Sheriff Kelly J. Hanson said. "The asset forfeiture funds being awarded will help us to recover some of our investment by allowing us to update equipment, training facilities, and community safety programs that may have not been possible due to budgetary constraints."
The agencies were given a portion of the money obtained from Verhaar’s fines in accordance with HIS’s asset-forfeiture program.