Patchogue (WALK) - There's a hot cup of coffee ready for you at your local 7-11, even if it's one of the 10 Suffolk locations that shut down earlier this week after they were raided by federal agents.
Some of the stores reopened yesterday and the rest will reopen today, staffed by supervisors and employees of the national 7-11 corporation. The stores are normally operated by franchise owners who were arrested Monday, accused of forcing illegal immigrants into slave labor.
The 7-11 franchise owners who were taken into custody are charged with violating labor laws by underpaying and overworking the immigrants. They allegedly forced their workers to put in as much as 100 work hours a week, for which they were paid just $300 to $500.
The workers were also forced to live in boardinghouses owned by their bosses, who would deduct the rent from their already meager paychecks, according to federal prosecutors.
Loretta Lynch, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District, called the defendants "ruthless" and said they created a "modern-day plantation system."
The government reportedly plans to seize the franchise rights to the stores, claiming the profits are the product of a crime.