Several suspects plead not guilty after immigration raids

ICE detainees, believed to be from O'Neill, arrive on a bus in Grand Island on August 8, 2018. Homeland Security says businesses were cheating the system, and taking advantage of undocumented immigrants (NTV News)

Eleven people arrested during a federal immigration operation have pleaded not guilty.

The pleas they entered Thursday in U.S. District Court in Lincoln were made to a variety of charges, including conspiracy to conduct money laundering and conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens.

The investigative arm of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement — Homeland Security Investigations — led Wednesday's raids at several businesses in and around O'Neill and in Minnesota. Officials had wiretapped phones to gain evidence about what prosecutors said was a conspiracy to provide businesses labor from people not legally in this country while siphoning off the workers' pay.

Defense attorneys denied their clients committed crimes, arguing that some of the allegations could be equated to renting a home to someone or providing a ride to work.

Seventeen people are indicted in U.S. District Court over incidents that allegedly all occurred between January of 2015 and last month.

Here are the mugshots of the 17 arrested:

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