Ark. operator to pay $400K for hiring illegal immigrants

FAYETTEVILLE Ark. The owners of a Mexican restaurant chain and other businesses in northwest Arkansas have pleaded guilty to federal charges of knowingly hiring illegal immigrants. The parent corporation agreed to pay $400,000 for harboring illegal workers and could face additional fines.

Two management employees who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges face six months in prison and fines of up to $3,000.

Arturo Reyes Sr., who represented the company that owns several Acambaro Restaurants as well as the Garibaldi Mexican Restaurant and Garcia’s Distributor, entered the corporation’s plea Thursday in U.S. District Court.

ADec. 10 raid by the Northwest Arkansas Immigration Criminal Apprehension Task Force led to the arrests of Arturo Reyes Jr., 35; his wife, Silvia Reyes, 36; his brother, Armando Reyes, 33; and employee Lucila Huaracha, 33. All were initially charged with money laundering and conspiring to harbor illegal immigrants for commercial advantage and private financial gain by employing them at the restaurants and related businesses.

Arturo Reyes Jr. and his brother, Armando, entered guilty pleas on Thursday to misdemeanor charges of knowingly hiring an illegal alien. They admitted to hiring illegal workers at restaurants in the Arkansas communities of Rogers, Springdale, Fayetteville and Lowell over a nine-month period in 2007.

Huaracha and Silvia Reyes pleaded guilty to entering the country illegally and face up to six months in jail and $5,000 fines.

All will be sentenced later. All four are in the country illegally and face deportation.