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Eight restaurant workers held for immigration status in West Fargo

WEST FARGO - Police here say eight employees of a local Mexican restaurant are being held for investigation into their immigration status after officers responded to a noise complaint at a home early today.

Police were called at 4:20 a.m. to the duplex at 413 7th Ave. E. for a report of loud voices, stomping and the sound of people falling, said Mike Reitan, assistant West Fargo police chief.

Officers made contact with eight men who appeared to range in age from 18 to 35 and had been drinking alcohol, he said.

Officers were unable to communicate with the men, who spoke Spanish, so they called for assistance from an interpreter at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Grand Forks, N.D., Reitan said.

Through the ICE interpreter talking to the men over the phone, police determined they were employees at Casa Ramos Mexican Restaurant in Fargo, in the former Hooters site at 1649 38th St. S.W., Reitan said.

The men were taken to the Cass County Jail with the help of Fargo police, and ICE officials planned to conduct further interviews with them today, Reitan said.

Restaurant owner Ben Ramos could not immediately be reached for comment.

According to a Forum article on the restaurant when it opened in August, it seats 240 and employs about 18 people.

The eight men don't face any charges locally, Reitan said. While it's possible they could face alcohol violations if some of them are underage, typically they don't face additional charges once they're turned over to federal authorities, he said.