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Family lodges criminal complaint against Cargill in COVID-19 death

No charges have been laid
local news

High River RCMP has been asked to investigate the possibility of criminal negligence against Cargill because of the death of an employee from COVID-19.

The family of Benito Quesada, a UFCW Local 401 shop steward and Cargill employee who died on May 7 as a result of COVID-19, asked the RCMP to investigate his workplace death as a criminal matter, according to a UFCW press release.

“Benito’s death was a tragedy,” the UFCW release said. "As a union shop steward, Benito stood up for his co-workers every day. The best way we can honour Benito is to stand by his family as they stand up for him.

"As Benito’s union, we will continue to stand in solidarity with his family and all workers who face the threat of COVID-19 in their workplaces.”

There have been three deaths linked to a COVID-19 outbreak at the Cargill meat plant located just north of High River.

The Cargill plant, employs approximately 2,000 people. It reopened on May 4, 2020 after being idled on April 20 for two weeks after the death of Cargill employee Hiep Bui, 67, from COVID-19.

As well a father of a Cargill employee passed away from the virus.

An article from a May 2020 edition of the Western Wheel said there had been more than 1,500 COVID-19 cases linked to the outbreak at Cargill which started in April.

Corp. Tammy Keibel, of RCMP media relations confirmed it has received the complaint concerning Quesada and is currently investigating.