Craig During the past two weeks, the Moffat County Sheriff's Office arrested seven men working for a subcontractor at the Tri-State Generation & Transmission power plant for suspected crimes related to illegal immigration.
The men were arrested on suspicion of one count of possession of a forged instrument, a Class 5 felony, and one count of criminal impersonation, a Class 6 felony. The 14th Judicial District Attorney's Office plans to file charges against each of the men in the case.
Two suspects - Jesus Efren Munoz-Tavarez, 20, and Albino Rios-Perez, 28, each originally from Mexico - were arrested April 20.
Sheriff's Office deputies arrested the other five Monday. They are:
• Atruro Bedoy-Veliz, 25, originally from Guatemala.
• Benjamin Chavarria-Carrera, 35, originally from Guatemala.
• Arjelio Cuellar-Cuellar, 35, originally from Guatemala.
• William Rolando Cuellar Cuellar, 24, originally from Guatemala.
• Leonel Adalberto Vasquez-Asencio, 32, whose home address is listed in Ohio.
All names, ages and places of birth were reported by the Sheriff's Office.
All seven men are being held at Moffat County Jail. Sheriff Tim Jantz said they will face their local charges before being transferred into U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody.
None of those arrested was Tri-State employees, Jantz added. Each of them worked for a subcontractor hired to complete an ongoing $39 million environmental renovation at the power plant.
Jantz said some of the men worked for Broomfield-based Casey Industrial. That company also hired most of the 19 workers taken to The Memorial Hospital on April 18 after suffering from nausea, coughing attacks and burning eyes.
A representative from Casey Industrial could not be reached by press time Wednesday.
Jim Van Someren, Tri-State communications manager, said Tri-State had no comment about the matter because the company is not involved in who its subcontractors hire.
Jantz said he was "extremely impressed" by the work of deputies Larry Dalton and Skip Duncan - as well as the Wackenhut Security personnel hired by Tri-State - in discovering the alleged forgeries.
Wackenhut Security guards, who are stationed at the plant's entrance and check photo identification for everyone who enters the site, phoned the Sheriff's Office after several workers provided suspicious IDs, Jantz said.
The documents included a permanent resident ID card, social security cards and worker IDs from other states.
Once there, Jantz said it took "extensive digging" for his deputies to decide the documents' validity.
"I'm very impressed with what they did," the sheriff said. "A lot of those IDs look really good. They are professionally done, and it took the wherewithal of the deputies to dig a little deeper."