Mexican national sentenced to prison for human trafficking and forced labor

Simon Banda-Mireles, a 50-year-old Mexican national, was sentenced to nearly 4 years in prison for employing undocumented aliens for commercial purposes. The man, who owned several restaurants in New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia admitted to having between 25 to 100 undocumented employees working in his businesses between 2006 and 2008.

Banda-Mireles, who entered the United States illegally under the false identity of Jorge DeLarco, is also undocumented. He was arrested in April 2008, along with 10 of his restaurant managers. The 11 men were charged with human trafficking, bringing Mexicans into the country, and using force and threats to force undocumented immigrants to work in the restaurants.

The case came to light following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations and the Erie County Sheriff's Department.

As part of the plea agreement, Banda-Mireles agreed to forfeit cash and other property worth $$70,009 seized by the government. He must also pay restitution of $$239,089 to 15 undocumented immigrants who worked for him and were paid substantially below minimum wage.