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Archive for Friday, June 14, 2013

Ottawa El Mezcal restaurant closed by Immigration and Customs officials

June 14, 2013

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The El Mezcal Mexican restaurant in Ottawa was closed Friday because of a criminal investigation by federal immigration and customs authorities, according to a spokesman for Homeland Security Investigations, a branch of the federal agency Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The El Mezcal Mexican restaurant in Ottawa was closed Friday because of a criminal investigation by federal immigration and customs authorities, according to a spokesman for Homeland Security Investigations, a branch of the federal agency Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

— The El Mezcal Mexican restaurant in Ottawa was closed Friday because of a criminal investigation by federal immigration and customs authorities.

At least three unmarked vehicles and six federal agents arrived at the restaurant about 9:30 a.m. Friday, witnesses said. The restaurant remained closed all day, the subject of an investigation by agents with Homeland Security Investigations, a branch of the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. Calls to the restaurant's owner were not immediately returned Friday afternoon.

El Mezcal also has locations in Lawrence, which remained open Friday.

Rocky Scott, of Garnett, was one of the disappointed customers who were surprised to find the Ottawa restaurant closed Friday evening. He said he is friendly with the general manager, loves the restaurant and hopes both are OK.

"They're fantastic people, and this is the best-run of all of them," Scott said.

Shawn Neudauer, a spokesman for Homeland Security, said the agency could not provide details about the activity at the restaurant because it was part of an ongoing criminal investigation. But he did confirm that special agents from Homeland Security conducted the operation at the restaurant, and said the investigation also involved local law enforcement agencies in the Kansas City area and in Ottawa, including the Clay County Sheriff’s Office in Missouri, the Overland Park Police Department and the Ottawa Police Department.

Comments

brutus 10 months ago

I love Mexican food and my favorite in town is El Mezcal.

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msmimi 10 months ago

Racism; is still alive and well in Lawrence....

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msmimi 10 months ago

Racism is still alive and well in Lawrence....

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Beth Bird 10 months ago

No big surprise but I wonder why they didn't raid any of the other locations as they are all run by the same people.....Garnett, Lawrence, Osage City, Topeka......Bet they all have the same problem!

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havecents 10 months ago

Whatever. I agree, some are jumping to conclusions, but if there are illegal activities going on, hammer 'em, and in my opinion, that includes citizenship. Doesn't make me racist. Makes me want a country of accountability. Tired of all the excuse making enablers that are ruining what my Granddad and Great Granddad fought for. White, black, or whatever.... Follow our laws or face the consequences.

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jhawkinsf 10 months ago

The article states that calls to the owner were not immediately returned as of Friday afternoon. Well, it's now Sunday afternoon. Have follow up calls been made? Have they been ignored or has the owner called to clarify the situation? Has the owner spoken with other media outlets?

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tomatogrower 10 months ago

Some of you posters were probably the ones who made racist comments after that boy sang the National Anthem at the Spurs game. Could there be illegals working at the restaurant? Maybe. But you don't know the whole story yet. Also, don't forget hispanics were the first Europeans to start settling the New World. Many hispanic families have been in the US longer that many of our families. In fact, this part of the world would probably be Spanish-speaking if Queen Elizabeth's navy hadn't defeated the Spanish Armada.

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Randall Uhrich 10 months ago

Too bad. good food and good people.

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Mike Ford 10 months ago

funny thing is the El Patron we ate at tonight was filled to capacity at 7pm and the food was great. Nice to know this newspaper does little to stop the denigrating going on in many of the comments here.

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Nikonman 10 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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MacHeath 10 months ago

I have heard rumors about all kinds of things.

I am going to put my money on this was an immigration thing. Why they singled out this particular restaurant is the question. There could be another explanation, but we have no evidence to the contrary. More jobs Americans won't do...Have any of you folks ever looked in the kitchen of any restaurant? I mean ANY restaurant. They could probably close down 80 percent of the restaurants in Lawrence, and not just the Mexican ones.

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ljreader 10 months ago

Any number of things come to mind- I've always heard rumors that these restaurants are fronts for human and drug trafficking and money laundering- which makes sense seeing as how such an empire has been built so quickly springing from one filthy location serving up mediocre food.

Just wonder why only 1 is singled out- Article does state this is an ongoing investigation.

Glad to see them busted. Hope to see more to come,

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kansasdaughter 10 months ago

Worst food I've ever not eaten after tasting.

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Larry Moss 10 months ago

Just more jobs Americans won't do, Right?

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Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 months ago

This is the stupidity of attempts to run undocumented workers out of the country, you close down businesses, hurt your economy and lose services. There's a reason these people are here and it's because we need them.

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Scott Morgan 10 months ago

I shop both Lawrence and Ottawa. Per Capita Ottawa has Lawrence beaten with nice places to dine, including a (non big box} movie theater which serves meals. Also has a dining car train trip dealie as well.

Oh, after dinner you can visit any number of Ottawa only stores as a Military Surplus Camping Store.

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Steven Gaudreau 10 months ago

I wonder why the Ottawa store was singled out? I would imagine there are a lot of no shows today at all of the others El Mezcal locations. I wont eat their after seeing there health reports again, again and again. Had Mexqisto (sp?) downtown for lunch yesterday and it was very good.

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catfishturkeyhunter 10 months ago

That sucks. That was one of the better places to eat in Ottawa if not the only place.

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Jeff Kilgore 10 months ago

To me, the feds' search does not extend so far as to catch those alleged illegal workers in other more politically connected places. And they know this is true.

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Michael Capra 10 months ago

they have been under investigation for yrs

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Michael Capra 10 months ago

fleeba have you not seen there health report the worst of any restaurants in lawrence

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Michael Capra 10 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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fleeba 10 months ago

El Busted - I hope this doesn't affect the ones in Lawrence. I like the cheap food.

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riverdrifter 10 months ago

I wonder if as falls El Mezcal - Ottawa so falls El Patron - Baldwin which just opened. They are all off the same family tree I think.

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