Immigration group sounds off against sheriff's ID theft raid at Uncle Sam's

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- A week after a Maricopa County sheriff's office ID-theft raid at Uncle Sam's restaurant, organizers with the immigration group Puente Arizona held a rally in support of the individuals jailed.

"Arpaio should not have conducted these raids in the first place," said Sandra Castro, an organizer with Puente Arizona, which describes itself as "part of the global movement for migrant justice and human rights."

Of the nine people arrested, each suspected of forgery and ID theft, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office has filed formal charges against only four, at this point.

"They're not dismissing the case," said Deputy Joaquin Enriquez.  The case is still under investigation, and additional charges could come later, according to law enforcement officials.

However, there was not enough evidence to charge the remaining five individuals, according to a spokesman with the County Attorney's Office.

MCSO said the investigation into Uncle Sam's employees started months ago, but the search warrant served marked the first raid since a federal judge ruled Sheriff Joe Arpaio violated the constitutional rights of Latinos by targeting them during raids and traffic stops.

"We wanted to make sure our i's were dotted and our t's were crossed," Enriquez said. "We worked hand in hand with the county attorney; we worked hand in hand with our lawyers, making sure that the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, Sheriff Joe Arpaio didn't overstep his boundaries, and to make sure he abided by the rules Judge Snow laid down."

Enriquez says last week's operation wasn't about immigration, but rather about identity theft and fraud.

Castro disagrees. She says the organization's attorneys are working to try to help the individuals still jailed.

"Why is he going after these folks based on ID fraud when you know it's linked to immigration?" Castro asked.

3TV reached out to Uncle Sam's restaurant for comment but our call wasn't returned.