Two men arrested in Thursday's small market raids appeared in court Friday afternoon and pleaded not guilty.
After a raid at Progress Market at 600 North Limestone, police charged Ahmed Ismail, 30, with four counts of engaging in organized crime. Fayette District Judge Joseph T. Bouvier set Ismail's $40,000 bond at 10 percent.
After the police visit to Eastland Foodmart, Deepamkumas Patel, 41, was charged with one count of engaging in organized crime. He paid his $10,000 bond Friday in full cash. Ismail and Patel will appear in court again at 8:30 a.m. on June 11.
The Thursday raids were a part of a cooperative effort to recover stolen Kroger merchandise.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Lexington Herald-Leader
The raids were a part of a series of covert operations that have occurred over the past month and will continue, Kentucky State Police Sgt. Ben Wolcott said.
State police will continue investigating the stores and additional charges are expected.
Several agencies are working with state police in these investigations:
■ Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
■ U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
■ U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
■ U.S. Department of Agriculture.
"I think this shows that whenever multiple agencies get together and work together, it yields positive results for our community," Wolcott said Thursday.
Immigration is involved because of the possibility that some proprietors might be in the country illegally, Wolcott said. "We just wanted to have all hands on deck."