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New indictments in Agriprocessors case

POSTVILLE, Iowa (JTA) — A federal grand jury returned a 12-count indictment against Agriprocessors and its employees. 

The indictment, which was unsealed Nov. 21, included fresh charges against the kosher meat producer and named two former employees who had not been identified previously in connection with the case: Brent Beebe, a former operations manager, and Ze’ev Levi, who ran the poultry line.

Beebe was arrested Friday at the Agriprocessors plant in Postville. Levi is believed to have fled to Israel. 

The indictment also included new immigration-related charges against Sholom Rubashkin, the company’s former chief executive, who already is facing charges related to his role in helping procure fake documents for illegal immigrants as well as bank fraud. 

On Nov. 20, a federal magistrate judge ruled that Rubashkin posed a flight risk and ordered him held until trial. 

At a meeting Nov. 21, the mayor of Postville asked the state for assistance in handling the "economic and humanitarian disaster" now unfolding in his city, where many former employees have been without paychecks for as long as three weeks. Jewish teachers in the town’s yeshiva also have not been paid for more than two months. 

At the meeting, a committee of state and local officials was formed to coordinate humanitarian relief in Postville, where families are struggling to buy food and pay for utilities. 

The new indictment also names Agriprocessors itself, which could now face new fines, potentially scuttling its efforts to recover. 

Agriprocessors filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Nov. 4. Production at the Postville plant has been shut down for more than a week. 

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