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Owner of Mexican restaurant indicted on harboring charges

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - An upstate New York man has been charged with harboring illegal aliens in the basement of his business. This investigation is being conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

J. Guadalupe Hernandez, 25, of Canandaigua, N.Y., the owner of El Jimador Mexican Restaurant, has been charged in a three-count indictment. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

The return of the indictment by a federal grand jury in Rochester was announced by U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr., Western District of New York; and James C. Spero, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Buffalo, N.Y.

According to the indictment, Hernandez harbored three men, knowing or recklessly disregarding the fact that they were unlawfully present in the United States. ICE HSI special agents found the three men living in the basement during the execution of a search warrant at the El Jimador Mexican Restaurant in March 2011. The men admitted that they worked at the restaurant and were paid in cash by Hernandez.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marisa J. Miller.