Officers arrest illegal immigrant

News Herald reports • March 19, 2009

PORTAGE TOWNSHIP -- An illegal Mexican immigrant reportedly working at a Mexican restaurant near Port Clinton is being turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol, according to the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office.

The arrest of Pedro Lopez-Lopez, 19, 321 Cedar St., Port Clinton, stems from a traffic violation Tuesday night.

A deputy pulled over a vehicle driven by Lopez-Lopez on Ohio 53 and State Road for swerving around 9:45 p.m. The deputy cited Lopez-Lopez for not having a driver's license.

During further investigation, it was learned that he did not have a visa and was in the United States illegally, the report stated.

A co-worker from Casa Las Palmas Mexican Restaurant was called to the site where deputies stopped Lopez-Lopez, the deputy said. The co-worker then searched at Lopez-Lopez' home for proper paperwork, according to the report, but was unable to locate the information.

Over the course of the investigation, a supervisor from the Border Patrol confirmed Lopez-Lopez' status as an illegal immigrant for the deputy, the report says.

Wednesday afternoon, a spokeswoman for the Ottawa County Detention Facility said Lopez-Lopez was being held for the Border Patrol.

A person who answered the telephone at Casa Las Palmas on Wednesday could not confirm Lopez-Lopez worked there. He said to call back when a manager was working.

Khaalid Walls, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said the restaurant is not connected to the Casa Fiesta franchise involved in a multi-agency illegal immigrant bust last July.

Fifty-eight people were arrested during raids of the eight Casa Fiesta restaurants, which are located in Norwalk, Ashland, Oberlin, Oregon, Sandusky, Vermilion, Youngstown and Fremont.

Walls said information on those raids is expected to surface in the next couple of months. ... /903190307