Immigration raids target four Mexican restaurants

On Tuesday, several Mexican restaurants in and around Buffalo were raided by federal agents in an immigration investigation that began more than two years ago. There were nine arrests as a result of the raids, with accusations that four restaurants were harboring undocumented immigrants. These were Don Tequila on Allen Street, Elmwood Avenue’s Agave in Buffalo, La Divina in Kenmore, and El Agave, in Cheektowaga.

Those arrested were 42-year-old, Sergio Ramses Mucino, 22-year-old, Marguin Sanchez, and 37-year-old, Jose Sanchez-Ocampo. They are all Buffalo residents and were charged with conspiracy in regard to harboring illegal aliens. The charges carry a penalty of up to ten years in prison. Mucino has been arraigned in federal court and since been bailed.

US Attorney, William J Hochul Jr. released a statement noting that his office will continue to make certain that all employers are playing by the same rules with regard to their business operations. He added that this applies particularly to the restaurant industry, where financial, and health and safety rules are in place to protect both staff and members of the public.

All the restaurants were closed on Tuesday, following the raids, but are expected to reopen, according to the defense lawyer, Joel Daniels. Mucino operated all the restaurants and is responsible for hiring decisions, says Assistant US Attorney, Brian J. Counihan. Prosecutors claim that most of the workforce in Mucino’s restaurants were undocumented immigrants being paid in cash.