Skip to comments.Mentor restaurant part of five-state raid (Jalapeno Loco in Mentor is mentioned-smuggling illegals)
Posted on 04/17/2008 1:07:56 AM PDT by Las Vegas Dave
CLEVELAND (AP) -- Federal immigration authorities raided seven Mexican restaurants in four states Wednesday, arresting 56 people, including 11 accused of conspiring to harbor illegal immigrants.
The immigrants were primarily undocumented Mexicans forced to staff the restaurants for long hours with little pay to work off smuggling fees and rent, authorities said.
Ten individuals were arrested in Mentor and Willoughby in northeast Ohio, at Jalapeno Loco Mexican Restaurant and two houses, said Greg Palmore, spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Two face charges of conspiring to harbor illegal immigrants and the rest face immigration violations.
The arrests began at 6 a.m. in Ohio, western New York, Bradford, Pa., and Wheeling and New Martinsville, W.Va. They were the result of a two-year investigation, Palmore said.
The restaurants' owner, Jorge Delarco of Depew, N.Y., is charged with conspiring to harbor illegal immigrants, which carries a five-year maximum jail sentence upon conviction. It was not immediately known if he had a lawyer.
"Employers who exploit illegal alien labor to reap greater profits for themselves can expect to pay a high price for their greed," said Julie L. Myers, assistant secretary of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Agents also raided Pilgrim's Pride poultry plants in five states Wednesday in a crackdown on an alleged scam to provide fake identification for illegal immigrant workers, authorities said.
More than 100 people were expected to be charged in the raids at the nation's largest chicken producer, Myers said.
(Excerpt) Read more at blog.cleveland.com ...
MENTOR — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested 10 people early Wednesday at the Jalapeno Loco Mexican restaurant on Mentor Avenue here.
Eight of them were workers, allegedly smuggled into the U.S. illegally.
The others including, Alvaro Soto, of Willoughby, allegedly were part of a multi-state human smuggling ring.
ICE agents also had search warrants and removed $18,000 in cash and other significant documents from an office inside the restaurant.
The eight workers face deportation and Soto faces smuggling and possibly money laundering charges.
ICE agents also searched Soto’s apartment on Gardenside Drive in Willoughby and the Queensdale Apartments here in Mentor.
Today’s ICE raid was one of several being carried out in Ohio, and at several locations in Western New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Georgia.
ICE is a division of the Department of Homeland Security.
“ICE seeks to eliminate the magnet of illegal workers coming to the U.S. by imposing criminal sanctions and fines on egregious employers that are hiring this illegal workforce and undermining the U.S. economy,” Channel 3 News reporter Dave Summers reported.
Wednesday afternoon, United States Attorney Terrance P. Flynn and Julie L. Myers, Assistant Secretary for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also announced the arrests of five individuals in the Western District of New York, a sixth person in Bradford Pennsylvania, and three persons in West Virginia.
An eleventh person is still being sought.
All 11 are accused of conspiring to harbor illegal aliens, primarily undocumented Mexicans, who had been smuggled into the United States for the purpose of employing these aliens at seven Mexican restaurants, three in Western New York, one in Bradford Pennsylvania, one in Mentor, Ohio, and one in Wheeling and one in New Martinsville, West Virginia.
If convicted, the 11 could face a maximum term of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Simultaneously with the arrests, ICE agents and state and local police agencies executed search warrants at the seven Mexican restaurants, six residences occupied by the owners and managers of the restaurants, twelve apartments used to house undocumented aliens, and a safe deposit box at a branch of Community Bank on Vineyard Drive in Dunkirk, New York.
I heard this on the radio today. My reaction: ONLY 10??
I live in eastern Lake county. Nursery after nursery. They work right out in the open fields. Never heard of ANY of them being raided.
Illegals, doing the job that Americans don't want.....
Soto should be facing RICO charges....these are RICO offenses.
I say, save the resturants for last. Otherwise, they’ll be no where to eat out. (at least in my area)
Large illegal population next door in Painesville, Ohio.
Do you know any of the players in this Dave? I have never been to the restaurant but of course don’t live in the area but get there about a dozen times a year as I love Lake County.
I have family in Dunkirk & get there often as I can . There is a large immigrant community/migrant workers with the wine/grapes.
thanks for ping
Unbelievable, Dave. I drive by that restaurant regularly. I’m glad these people were caught. What they did to the people smuggled in is horrible.
If a place in town was going to be busted it was Jalepeno Loco. They were pretty blatant about it. Advertising in HOLA, the Hispanic advocacy organization’s newsletter that is very proamnesty.
More Eastern US trafficking to Ping!
Hey are you part of the Rally Team in Mentor? I know a woman who helps with the group. They are having a wonderful forum on illegal immigration coming up. If you want info FReep mailme!!
If they want to be in the USA, let them do it LEGALLY. (like my gr grandparents did.)
Just the tip of the iceberg.
In the next city from mine!