A federal judge has thrown out the first attempt by a government body to use the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to collect damages from companies it accuses of depleting public resources through hiring illegal immigrants.

On July 27, 2005, Canyon County Idaho filed suit against Syngenta Seeds, Sorrento Lactalis Inc., Swift Beef Co. and Harris Moran Seed Co., alleging the companies conspired to obtain and employ illegal immigrant workers to reduce labor costs. According to court documents, such activities “harmed Canyon County because it has been forced to spend money to provide medical and criminal justice services for many of these illegal immigrants,” and asks for treble damages. The court dismissed the case, finding the county didn’t have standing to bring the suit.