Jacksonville restaurant owners are accused of hiding people in their home who are in the country illegally.
According to an affidavit filed Monday, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Department of Homeland Security bust happened July 6 at a home in the 11400 block of Tori Lane, near Dunn Avenue and Duval Road.
An investigation into a tip about a 16-year-old who had been smuggled into the country led investigators to the Northside home.
The tip came during an operation to crack down on organizations smuggling undocumented children into the United States.
That information eventually led special agents to the home on Tori Lane, which the government said is tied to Fujiyama Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Lounge, which is located just a few miles away at the River City Marketplace.
An American flag covers a window at the home where the six illegal immigrants were arrested.
“One of them went in the house with, like, a long chain with a bunch of handcuffs,” neighbor David Davis said.
Davis lives next door and says he was there when special agents were at the home on July 6.
“Loaded them in the van and hauled them off,” Davis said
According to an affidavit, ICE agents went to the home looking for a Guatemalan person potentially connected to smuggling a 16-year-old child. The Guatemalan person wasn’t there, but agents ended up arresting six other illegal immigrants.
The affidavit says the home is owned by Xiu Liu and Liang Yang, who also own Fujiyama Japanese Steakhouse, the place where all the illegal immigrants said they worked.
On Monday, Action News Jax’s Michael Yoshida went to the steakhouse and asked to speak with the owners. He was told to speak with a lawyer, whom he called. The lawyer declined to comment.
The affidavit said the owners didn’t ask for identification for employment but were told all workers were getting immigration status. It also says they didn’t charge the immigrants rent.
By Michael Yoshida for Action News JAX
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