BANGOR, Maine — A Harrington man pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to charges including transporting and harboring illegal aliens, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Juan Centeno-Perez, 48, came to Maine as a migrant worker in the late 1990s and eventually opened a Mexican store and restaurant with his wife in Washington County, according to U.S. Attorney Paula Silsby’s statement.
In 2005, the owner of ISF Trading Co. contracted with Centeno-Perez to provide labor for ISF’s sea cucumber processing plant in Lubec. However, many of the workers were not in the United States legally and were not authorized to work in the country, Silsby said.
Centeno-Perez also pleaded guilty to visa fraud and conspiracy to employ illegal aliens. He faces a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or both.
“Employers who choose to ignore the law should be on notice that ICE is working diligently to target employers who cultivate illegal workplaces by hiring illegal workers,” Bruce M. Foucart, special agent-in-charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Office of Investigations in Boston, said in a prepared statement.