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    Senior Member Ratbstard's Avatar
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    Nov 2007
    New Alien City-(formerly New York City)

    Immigration enforcement raids Elyria restaurant - OH
    Filed by Cindy Leise
    February 10th, 2012

    The Mezcal Tequila restaurant near Midway Mall has been closed since a Wednesday raid.

    ELYRIA — The front door of Mezcal Tequila was padlocked Thursday after nine suspected illegal aliens were arrested and led away in handcuffs on Wednesday morning.

    The nine people — all men — worked in “mixed job categories” at the restaurant, a federal immigration official said Thursday.

    The people were being held at the city jail in Bedford Heights pending hearings before an immigration judge, according to Khaalid Walls, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    Walls said the administrative arrests are part of an ongoing investigation at the restaurant at Midway Mall.

    “The individuals we arrested are suspected illegal aliens,” Walls said. “None face criminal charges.”

    Walls said ICE officials had a search warrant for the raid, which occurred about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday before the restaurant opened. He said the search warrant has been sealed because the investigation is continuing.

    “All of the arrests were without incident,” Walls said. He said six to eight ICE agents took part in the raid.

    Walls said he could not immediately state a country of origin for those taken into custody. The restaurant’s website indicated that the restaurant specializes in “an authentic taste of Mexico.”

    No one answered the phone Thursday at Mezcal Tequila, and its parking lot was practically empty.

    A manager at the nearby Applebee’s said he just learned of the arrests Thursday, and no one noticed anything amiss Wednesday.

    Anne Williams, a spokeswoman for mall owner Centro Midway LLC and Brixmor Property Group, which manages the property, said Thursday that she was unaware of the arrests until receiving a call from a reporter.

    She declined to say who was operating the restaurant. She did say that the person who signed the lease had a valid Social Security number, and that the lease stipulates that the business not involve any illegal activity.

    Walls, the ICE spokesman, refused to release the names of those arrested and declined to say if the owner or operator of Mezcal Tequila was under investigation.

    The owner of a restaurant with a similar name, Mezcal in Grafton, said there was no connection between the two businesses.

    Wednesday’s raid at Mezcal Tequila is the latest activity by ICE to crack down on illegal aliens working in this area.

    A July 23, 2008, raid of several Casa Fiesta restaurants, including in Oberlin and Vermilion, led to the sentencing of owner Ramon Ornelas of Norwalk to one year and one day in federal prison.

    Ornelas, of Norwalk, pleaded guilty to 18 charges, including harboring and concealing illegal immigrants, mail fraud and submitting false tax returns.

    About 58 people were deported as a result of the Casa Fiesta raids.

    ICE reported in 2010 that it removed about 392,800 aliens from the United States.

    Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or

    Immigration enforcement raids Elyria restaurant « The Chronicle-Telegram - Lorain County's leading news source
    Last edited by Ratbstard; 02-10-2012 at 11:59 AM.
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