Kinsman, IL – Federal agents conducted a raid Sunday afternoon at a goat meat processing plant near Morris, Illinois. The secretive operation was led by the Chicago FBI office, the Feds are being very tight-lipped on what they found and why they were even there.
Spokesman Ross Rice confirms agents were at 6260 Kinsman Road, in Kinsman, Illinois. The business is called First World Management. Rice would not say why agents were there but said nobody was taken into custody.
The FBI said the raid began Sunday morning and ended in the late afternoon. They were at the plant about nine hours total.
According to sources, the plant provides goat, beef and lamb meat which is prepared in the Halal way in accordance with Muslim custom.
The government workers inside First World Management meat packing plant in Kinsman Monday wouldn’t say why they were there or why scores of FBI agents and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were there Sunday.
The trouble is the FBI isn’t saying much about what happened at this rural Grundy County plant. A spokesman confirms that the plant, which has a Muslim prayer room, was raided as part of an ongoing criminal investigation.
Several witnesses reported that the Grundy County Sheriff’s office was involved, as well, saying sheriff dept. vehicles were visible at the scene. The Sheriff’s department denies it was present.
When asked if the raid had something to do with undocumented aliens, the person wouldn’t say. A neighbor suggested that undocumented immigrants live in a trailer behind the facility and work there.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said the agency assisted in the raid, but had no further comment. According to sources, many of the FBI and ICE agents were armed.
Several USDA criminal investigators were on site at the plant on Monday, but they would not comment on the situation.
One man who was talking about the raid was Jim Cavaness. He’s a handyman who occasionally works at the plant where goats, sheep and cows are slaughtered. On Sunday, he witnessed the raid and says he was questioned by FBI agents.
Cavaness says the FBI asked him if he had seen anything unusual at the plant. He says he’s never seen anything unusual, but, he says, judging by the amount of firepower on the scene, the FBI wasn’t just working an immigration case.
“Way too much overkill for immigration,” Cavaness said.
Neighbors who saw the raid on Sunday told CBS 2 it was a huge operation, involving more than 100 agents, police officers and even what one believed to be National Guard troops.
Sources say during the raid, the driveway was filled with more than 50 government vehicles. There was a helicopter flying overhead and a command center set up. On top of it were government sharpshooters with rifles at the ready.
George Jackson III is an attorney hired by one of the plant operators, Dr. Syed Hamid. Jackson and Dr. Hamid spoke briefly while on their way to a meeting with the federal prosecutor Monday.
Jackson says it’s too early to say why there was such a huge show of force at the plant.
“Obviously, it was more than what was needed here, but why they felt the need to come forward with that much manpower allegedly, it’s too early to say,” Jackson said.
Jackson said federal agents confiscated the company’s computers, effectively shutting down the business. Dr. Hamid chose not to weigh in Monday.
“I don’t want to comment at this point,” Dr. Hamid said.