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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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Contact Journal-World reporter Caitlin Doornbos:
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

riverdrifter 1 year, 6 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.

Chrissy Neibarger 1 year, 6 months ago

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

Michael Capra 1 year, 6 months ago

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Michael Capra 1 year, 6 months ago

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

Michael Capra 1 year, 6 months ago

they have been under investigation for yrs

Jeff Kilgore 1 year, 6 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.

Jeremiah Jefferson 1 year, 6 months ago

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

windjammer 1 year, 6 months ago

The very worst place to eat in Ottawa. Filth and slim and nasty food.

Irenaku 1 year, 6 months ago

Eh..please see my grammar correction below. Thanks.

Scott Morgan 1 year, 6 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.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 1 year, 6 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.

kernal 1 year, 6 months ago

It's very possible this is not primarily about undocumented workers. If that were the case, there are plenty of other businesses in Kansas that would have been raided and shut down long ago.

Hooligan_016 1 year, 6 months ago

Don't worry, El Sol is just down the street.

Nikonman 1 year, 6 months ago

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Mike Ford 1 year, 6 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.

farmgal 1 year, 6 months ago

we tried El Patron there in Baldwin last week. After eating there and looking over the menu, I suspected it was affiliated with the El Mezcal bunch. The food was standard, mediocre typical mid-western Mexican fare, the only difference, is that it was THE SALTIEST food I have ever had while eating out. Terribly unhealthy, based on that fact alone.

jafs 1 year, 6 months ago

It's very hard to eat out if you're concerned about sodium intake.

Most restaurants use a lot of salt.

farmgal 1 year, 6 months ago

That is true, but this was THE SALTIEST food I've EVER eaten out! Way over the top & unnecessary.

tomatogrower 1 year, 6 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.

jhawkinsf 1 year, 6 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?

Beth Bird 1 year, 6 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!

brutus 1 year, 6 months ago

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

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