SANFORD, N.C. (WNCN) – A Tuesday morning raid of a firearms manufacturing facility in Lee County resulted in the arrests of about 30 people.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement served federal search warrants at the Bear Creek Arsenal plant in Sanford. The company has about 250 employees, according to its website.
Lee County Sheriff Tracy Carter said some of his deputies assisted ICE agents after receiving a request from federal officials.
“This was the result of an ongoing investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that dealt with identity theft and fraud. It is unclear at this time if the local business was at fault,” Carter wrote in a post on his Facebook page.
“It is not known at this time how long these individuals will be detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. What I want Lee County residents to know is that this was not a random operation.”
Bear Creek Arsenal incorporated in 2010, as founder and CEO Eugene Moore renamed his Moore’s Machine Co. of Sanford plant on McNeill Road. The company began manufacturing metal parts in 1971 and now specializes in making guns and gun parts, particularly for AR-15 rifles.
The phone lines were busy at Bear Creek today. After a long time on hold, a receptionist said, “There’s nothing that we can comment right now.”
Second-shift workers who arrived in the afternoon said word of the raid spread quickly.
“It’s kind of unexpected. I didn’t think that I’d wake up today and have to get calls from people worried about their job,” Bear Creek Arsenal employee Adrian Razo said.
“I’ve had people call me early this morning and say that they’re not coming in because of what happened today. I think they’re scared about that. I think it’s an immigration concern more than anything.”
Razo said he heard ICE took about 30 people into custody, which matched the number announced by the sheriff. An ICE spokesperson said Tuesday afternoon that she did not know the exact number of arrests.