FAYETTEVILLE, AR - A prosecutor says two Springdale residents have been accused by a federal grand jury at Fort Smith of harboring illegal immigrants and money laundering. Honorato Pedroza and Gema Rivera-Soto face four felony counts arising from May 21 raids by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
U.S. Attorney Robert C. Balfe of Fort Smith said in a news release yesterday that Rivera-Soto also faces a charge of identity theft.
Agents arrested 15 adult Mexican nationals and four juvenile Mexican nationals in the raids at three restaurants in Washington and Benton counties. Two adults from El Salvador also were arrested.
The yearlong investigation began after federal agents said they found Pedroza using a Social Security number not assigned to him.