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Cracker Factory Investigated for Employing Illegal Immigrants

By Jerry Olenyn, jolenyn@krcrtv.com
Published On: Feb 01 2013 08:56:58 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 02 2013 01:38:32 PM CST
Mary's Gone Crackers Image
GRIDLEY, Calif. -

A Gridley company that produces organic cookies and crackers is being investigated for employing illegal immigrants.

The investigation is ongoing.  At this time, no criminal charges have been filed and no one has been arrested.

On Thursday, federal investigators served search warrants at Mary's Gone Crackers on Kentucky Avenue in Gridley.  The company produces organic crackers and cookies.  It supplies products to organic food stores and some major grocery stores.

The investigation started about five years ago. In court documents, investigators allege at least 49 employees at Mary's Gone Crackers may not be in the country legally.  This number would represent nearly one-third of the Gridley-based company's work force.

A lengthy avadavit filed by federal investigators said all 49 had fraudulent social security numbers.  Immigration investigators were told by the company 48 of them no longer worked there. 

But according to court documents, the company not only continued employing these workers, but allegedly tried to shield them from investigators during follow-up surveillance.

KRCR News Channel 7 visited the company's offices Friday to get management's response to the allegations, but our reporter was asked to leave the premises.  The company also called police as our reporter was voluntarily leaving the property.

The U.S. Justice Department said it will examine computers and other electronic equipment seized in Thursday's raid.  They also claim to have two confidential soures that work inside Mary's Gone Crackers.

According to the company website, the company's products are sold across the country.  Locally distributors in the North State include Safeway stores, Maise Jane's, S&S Produce, Chico Natural Foods, Country Harvest, Almond Street Natural Foods, Holiday Market and Enterprise Health Food.

The company offers gluten-free, nut-free, dairy- free, certified organic and kosher products.

It was founded in 2004 by Chairman & Founder Mary Waldner and her husband, CEO, President & Founder Dale Rodrigues.  The couple lives in Paradise.