PHOENIX - Maricopa County Sheriff's office raided two Sizzler steak house locations on Saturday in search of up to 23 suspects, with nine suspects being taken into custody when the search warrants were served.
The suspects are believed to be illegal immigrants using false identification to gain employment at the restaurants.
The restaurants are located in Phoenix at 5060 W. Indian School Road and 10469 N. 28th Drive.
In May of last year, deputies received a tip from a former manager who informed them he was asked to leave the company when he was not willing to hire employees who didn't have proper identification. He also told MCSO there were employees who were using false identification to gain employment with the restaurant chain.
According to MCSO the manager was offered three months severance for not reporting the information to law enforcement.
The year long investigation included undercover surveillance. One of the suspects is known to have been deported three times from the U.S. and each time has been hired back by Sizzler upon his return.
"This is another example of a case where desperately needed jobs are being occupied by illegal aliens who have disregarded our laws and our borders. I hope that illegal aliens who are holding jobs here start returning home and come back to the country the legal way," Sheriff Joe Arpaio said.
The restaurants' owner claims he has followed all the rules and broke no laws.