PICAYUNE, MS (WLOX) - Four people are now charged with hiring and harboring illegal workers after last week's immigration raids in Pearl River County. As WLOX reported Friday, federal officials raided Mexican restaurants in Picayune and Poplarville.
Jose Gutierrez, is named in court papers as the owner of the El Mariachi restaurants Picayune and Poplarville, and the El Vaquero Chido in Picayune. Gutierrez also owned Macho Taco in Biloxi until selling it last year.
Vicente Barajas Jimenez and Evaristo Jimenez are listed as co-owners and Juan Escobar Barajas an employee.
The investigation began last August with the assistance of at least two illegal workers who are listed as unnamed sources in court documents. Officials found sources who told them Gutierrez staffed the restaurants almost exclusively with people in the U.S. illegally.
Federal officials say the workers were paid cash, some used the same fraudulent social security number and most lived in homes or apartments owned and rented by Guiterrez and the other defendants.
Investigators also say a number of the workers at the restaurants have been arrested multiple times and deported multiple times.
Preliminary hearings for the four are set for Wednesday before Judge John Roper in U.S. District Court in Gulfport.