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Illegal immigrants apprehended in Cloquet

Cloquet police stopped a van carrying 12 illegal immigrants Tuesday morning and turned the men over to federal agents.

Cloquet Deputy Chief Terry Hill said the van was stopped for a traffic violation at 10th Street and Avenue B about 6:30 a.m. and that one of the men in the van immediately said he was in the country illegally.

Hill said the van had Georgia license plates and that the men apparently were working for a contractor from Georgia in town performing maintenance work at the Sappi paper mill.

The federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency took the men into custody and the Border Patrol is handling the case. A 13th person in the van was in the country legally.

Amy Olson, manager of corporate communications for Sappi's U.S. holdings, said the company learned of the incident Tuesday but that Sappi has not been officially notified of the problem.

"Agents of the federal government inspected the employment documentation of employees of a contractor of Sappi pertaining to its Cloquet mill site,'' Olson said in an e-mail to the News Tribune. "It is Sappi Fine Paper North America's policy to comply fully with the immigration laws, and Sappi requires the same of its contractors. The government has not contacted Sappi Fine Paper North America about this matter."