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Minnesota contractor accused of labor trafficking

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Twin Cities contractor is accused of bringing undocumented workers to Minnesota and threatening to report them to immigration officials if they complained about being underpaid and dangerous working conditions.

Ricardo Batres is charged in Hennepin County with labor trafficking, theft by swindle and insurance fraud. Batres operates American Contractors, based in Crystal.

The complaint says Batres leveraged information about the employees’ immigration status to force them to work long hours for low pay and without adequate safety protections. Prosecutors say Batres told workers who were injured that they would lose their jobs and be deported if they sought medical attention.

The complaint says the number of workers involved peaked at 12 in the summer of 2017.

Batres hasn’t returned a call seeking comment.

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