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Two workers detained, two released after raids at Mexican restaurants

A federal judge detained two former employees of Sergio Mucino’s restaurants on Wednesday but ordered two others released with conditions.

U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder Jr. also released the wife of one of the workers.

All five defendants – four of them are believed to be married with children – are charged with re-entering the United States illegally over the past two years and working at Mucino’s businesses. Ultimately, they all face the possibility of being deported.

Immigration authorities raided the restaurants –  Don Tequila on Allen Street, Agave on Elmwood Avenue, El Agave in Cheektowaga and La Divina Mexican Store in Kenmore – Tuesday and arrested 25 people.

The five men and women who appeared in court Wednesday afternoon qualified for representation by the Federal Public Defender’s office and told the judge they earned between $1,300 and $2,000 a month while working at the restaurants.

Prosecutor Brian Counihan asked Schroeder to detain two of the former workers, Alejandro Valadez-Leon and Miguel Sanchez-Ocampo, because they have deportation orders pending against them and could face immediate removal if they are released from custody.

When Schroeder asked about the legal status of one of the defendants’ children, Counihan acknowledged they may be here legally.

“I think the children are United States citizens,” he said.

Some of the children are currently in the custody of Child Protective Services.

Two of the former workers are believed to be related to Jose Sanchez-Ocampo, the man described by prosecutors as Mucino’s “right hand man.”

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