April 18, 2008

Restaurant serves "illegal" portions

America doesn't need too-large of portions served at restaurants.

In Buffalo, New York there was an illegal reason the Mexican restaurant was serving extra large portions. The owners were arrested for using illegal aliens, not paying minimum wage and then skimming the profits.

When you see (and eat at) a place that doesn't make economic sense, there's usually a reason. And many times it's because it's illegal.

The Buffalo News reports: "When El Caporal, a Mexican restaurant across from Cheektowaga High School, got a review from Cheap Eats in The Buffalo News, the reviewer gave it 3 1/2 pennies out of four.

“Appropriate for a restaurant bearing the Mexican name for a ranch manager,” reviewer Anne Neville wrote of El Caporal, “this is a place to strap on the feedbag for a real south-of-the border experience.”

Federal authorities seconded that comment Wednesday when they arrested the restaurant owner as an illegal Mexican alien. They said he paid for workers to be smuggled across the border to work at El Caporal and in six other restaurants he owns in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.

Simon Banda, 41, of Depew, was awakened at 6 a.m. Wednesday by agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Bureau when they raided the Lancer Court Apartments.

Located on Union Road across from the high school, El Caporal developed a reputation as a place where hefty portions of food were served for a reasonable price.

The investigation had shown the undocumented workers were forced to work up to 70 hours a week in Banda’s restaurants for $600 every two weeks, the two lawmen said. Half of their wages went back to Banda, they said, to repay the smuggling fees.

In addition, Banda skimmed half of the operating profits from each restaurant, according to statements of Nelson Yera Jr., an Immigration and Customs agent, in a lengthy affidavit for search warrants.

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