Most of 63 illegals taken into custody at Carson plant already back in Mexico

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Most of the 63 illegal aliens arrested July 16 at a Carson City manufacturing plant have already been returned to Mexico.

The bust was described as the largest operation at a single site in Northern Nevada. Immigration and Naturalization Service agents converged on Stonewear Inc. on Lockheed Way at 8:30 a.m.

Lois Chappell, officer in charge of the Reno office, said more than 30 state, local and other federal officers supported the 17 immigration agents in the raid including Carson Sheriff's deputies, Nevada Highway Patrol and the Nevada Division of Investigations.

She said it was fortunate those agencies showed up to assist since, "no way did we expect to get that many people."

"It was wonderful the way community law enforcement helped us with this," she said.

Only a few of those taken into custody are still in Nevada.

"The majority went to Mexico the next day," she said. "They have to volunteer to return so they don't have a deportation on their record."

Aliens in the country illegally who have no criminal history and have not been deported before can voluntarily return to their homeland without facing formal deportation.

A few, she said, were held for investigation of other matters, because they have a criminal record or have previously been deported.

She said other law enforcement agencies are interested in a few of those taken into custody, but no major criminals were discovered among the 63. She said no details will be released on cases still under investigation.

At the state level, First Assistant Attorney General Tom Patton said there is a potential for state charges for failing to provide worker's compensation insurance. But he said it is the attorney general's office policy not to discuss whether or not there is an investigation under way.

All but four of those arrested were Mexican nationals. They made up nearly two-thirds of Stonewear Inc.'s workforce.

Chappell said most didn't spend much time in the Washoe County detention facility because the naturalization service arranged for a plane flight back to Mexico the next day.


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