Immigration raid nets 18 at North PB restaurant
Published - 05/21/08 - 02:40 PM | 2408 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
U.S Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) agents with a search warrant took 18 employees at the French Gourmet, 960 Turquoise St., into custody Thursday, May 15.

According to Lauren Mack, ICE public information officer, agents served the warrant at approximately 7:45 a.m., detaining 15 men and three women in the country illegally.

"They were all Mexican nationals," she said. "They will be processed, except for the three women, for removal back to Mexico. The women were released on humanitarian grounds so that they could take care of their children. There is a childcare issue, which is why we chose to release them."

Mack said the men were taken into custody under administrative arrest and will be processed for removal back to Mexico.

"Anyone who requests to see a judge will be granted that opportunity," she said. "Others who request to waive contesting the charges will go back as quick as possible. The women who were released on humanitarian grounds were given dates to appear."

Mack said the investigation lasted approximately six hours. Following the raid, a sign in the window informed customers that the business was closed for the day, apologizing for the inconvenience.

Jodi Breslow, marketing coordinator for the French Gourmet, said the restaurant has been advised by its attorney not to comment on the investigation at this time. She did say that the French Gourmet has been able to meet all orders for catering, wedding cakes and special deliveries after the warrant was served.

The warrant that brought immigration agents to the North Pacific Beach restaurant known for its sweet pastries and cakes has been sealed.

Mack said she couldn't answer specific questions about the warrant, but she said agents did collect business records, but no criminal arrests were made.

"When you execute a warrant at a business and gather company documents it's indicative that you're investigating the company," she said.

"With regard to the criminal warrant, all I can say is it was executed on the premises and the next step is to look at the evidence," Mack said.
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