Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash

ELKHORN — A Honduran man was arrested earlier this month at the Walworth County Fairgrounds, accused by federal authorities of exploiting other Hondurans into forced labor.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Monday that Denis Leonel Rodriguez Oyuela, 37, was charged last week by a federal grand jury with conspiracy to commit fraud in foreign labor contracting, conspiracy to force others into labor, as well as with aiding, abetting and conspiracy to commit alien harboring for financial gain.

General Manager Larry Gaffey, told the paper that the Walworth County Agricultural Society, which owns and operates the fairgrounds, “is partly victims in this too.” 

He said the society is cooperating with the FBI, which has asked fair officials not to say much about the ongoing investigation. He said no member of the society is a target, and that agents who executed a search warrant at society facilities were mostly focused on a vendor that does business with the fair.

According to investigators, Rodriguez Oyuela was able to help six men obtains visas to work in the United States at a Michigan landscape company.

But when they arrived, four were forced to work for lower pay at the Walworth County Fairgrounds and two were sent to an Illinois amusement company.


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By Staff Report

Walworth County Community News