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Ex-Tyson workers plead guilty to smuggling plot

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Two former Tyson Foods managers pleaded guilty Friday to conspiring to smuggle illegal immigrants from Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras into the United States to work at the poultry plants of the nation's largest meat producer.

The pleas come less than three weeks before Tyson and three other current and former employees are to face trial in the case.

In separate federal court hearings, Spencer Mabe, 50, and Truley Ponder, 59, both former managers at Tyson's complex in Shelbyville, pleaded guilty to one conspiracy count each.

Ponder's attorney, Aubrey Harwell, said his client would testify against Tyson if subpoenaed. Mabe's attorney, W. Thomas Dillard, declined to say whether his client would testify.