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Kristen Daum, Published November 06 2009

8 Casa Ramos workers appear in District Court

Eight employees of a Fargo Mexican restaurant who face federal criminal charges involving false immigration documents made their first appearance in U.S. District Court on Thursday.

A ninth employee is expected in court today.

According to the criminal complaints, the eight men knowingly purchased fake Social Security and alien registration cards in Florida, California and Arizona for amounts ranging from $60 to $150.

Chief Magistrate Judge Karen K. Klein scheduled preliminary hearings on Nov. 13 for the eight men.

They were arrested early Wednesday after West Fargo police responded to a noise complaint. With the assistance of an interpreter from the U.S. Border Patrol in Grand Forks, N.D., officials determined the men were in the country illegally.

The men told authorities they were employees of Casa Ramos Mexican Restaurant, in the former Hooters site at 1649 38th St. S. in Fargo.

The restaurant, which opened in August, employs 18 people, according to Forum archives. It was closed Wednesday and Thursday, with no sign on the door offering an explanation.

Another man, who told authorities he also was a Casa Ramos employee, was arrested by Border Patrol agents around 12:15 p.m. Thursday at the bus station in Fargo, Border Patrol officials said.

The ninth man is expected to appear in court today on the same criminal charges as the others.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kristen Daum at (701) 241-5541