Deputies raid 2 restaurants, arrest 7 for identity theft

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX – Maricopa County sheriff's deputies raided two Valley restaurants Friday afternoon and arrested seven suspected illegal immigrants for identity theft.

Deputies executed two search warrants and arrested five employees at Moreno's Mexican Grill at 760 E. Broadway Road in Mesa and two employees at 601 N. Arizona Ave. in Chandler.

Sheriff's detectives had received information from sources claiming the business had hired 14 illegal immigrants who were using false identification to work in the United States.

"Stealing people's identity is a Class 4 felony, a very serious crime," Sheriff Joe Arpaio said.

Arpaio said that not only does the enforcement of employer sanction laws help deter Arizona employers from hiring illegal workers for their cheap labor, but it also helps open up jobs for legal U.S. citizens.

"With the unemployment problem, maybe they will hire legitimate U.S. citizens now to fill the five vacancies here and not hire those in this country illegally," Arpaio said outside the Mesa restaurant.

Arpaio said the employer is cooperating with the sheriff's office.

This was the sheriff's 53rd employer sanction/false identification raid.