Federal officials yesterday raided a Westbrook restaurant and arrested owner Guillermo Fuentes on charges of hiring and conspiring to harbor illegal immigrants.
Armed agents yesterday raided the Fajita Grill on Main Street, prompted by a U.S. Department of Homeland Security investigation that found Fuentes and his brother, Hector, conspired to harbor illegal immigrants as well as hiring them for restaurant work, according to the Portland Press Herald. Federal officials also arrested Hector Fuentes, who owns Cancun Mexican restaurants in Biddeford and Waterville, on the same charges. Homeland Security's investigation began in 2008 following a tip from Westbrook police that men pulled over in routine traffic stops appeared to work at Fajita Grill but could not provide any U.S. identification. Homeland Security interviewed four illegal immigrants, who said they worked for the Fuentes brothers at a restaurant in Atlanta, and that at least a dozen employees moved to Maine along with the Fuentes brothers in 2006. The four people interviewed has received deferred action status, which allows them to remain in the United States for the duration of their cooperation. The U.S. Attorney's Office does not plan to prosecute them.
The brothers face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for conspiracy to harbor illegal immigrants, as well as up to six months in prison or a fine of up to $3,000 for each unauthorized immigrant hired.