Two Sentenced to 15 Months Following NWA Immigration Raids

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - Two Springdale residents have been sentenced to 15 months in prison for harboring and shielding illegal immigrants by offering them jobs at Mexican restaurants.

Court documents filed yesterday show that both Honorato Pedroza and Gema Rivera-Soto pleaded guilty to a single charge as part of a plea agreement struck with federal prosecutors.  They initially faced four felony counts arising from May 2007 raids by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and Rivera-Soto faced an additional identity theft charge.

A federal judge also ordered the two to pay $15,000 in fines and serve three years of court-supervised parole.

Agents arrested 15 adult Mexican nationals and four juvenile Mexican nationals in the raids at restaurant locations in northwest Arkansas.  Two adults from El Salvador were also arrested.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)