Lev Tahor members arrested by border officials

An unidentified member of Lev Tahor gestures to Chatham-Kent Children's Services workers through a...

An unidentified member of Lev Tahor gestures to Chatham-Kent Children's Services workers through a locked door to the ultra-orthodox community's classrooms while a number of children remained indoors. (Vicki Gough/QMI AGENCY)

Jane Sims and Vicki Gough and Ellwood Shreve, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 7:48 PM ET

CHATHAM, Ont. ─ Seven members of a runaway Jewish sect, already mired in child welfare allegations, were arrested in an immigration swoop down on the Lev Tahor compound.

In a chaotic scene Wednesday, Canadian Border Services Agency officials, child protection workers and police arrived to investigate what's believed to be expired immigration visas and took some people away in handcuffs.

There was screaming, crying and one Lev Tahor man was overheard shouting "Shame on you," as he waved his finger at the agents.

It's the latest set of troubles for the anti-Zionist group that's been in the sights of child protection officials, the police and the courts in two provinces since they fled Quebec in November.

Joel Helbrans, a 21-year old Lev Tahor teacher, said four people arrested had come from the U.S. with recently expired visas. They had contacted a lawyer and were going to meet with immigration officials.

Instead they were taken into custody and child welfare stepped in to take care of the children.

"Why is the reason for that?" he said sobbing.

Stephen Doig, executive director of Chatham-Kent Children's Services, confirmed there were seven "people of interest" to the immigration officials. The seven adults are parents to 28 kids. Nineteen children belong to one couple.


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