NEWS RELEASE                                             

For Immediate Release
February 12, 2008
Contact: Michele Nicholson
Public Information Officer
  (850) 651-7420


    Nine people were arrested Tuesday as the result of an investigation by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office into the employment of illegal aliens at several area businesses.

Members of a joint task force conducted business compliance visits at three local restaurants suspected of hiring illegal aliens and not complying with insurance rules.

     In addition to the arrests, the Worker’s Compensation Compliance office issued “Stop Work Orders” to all three businesses: Panda China Buffet at 309 Miracle Strip Parkway in Fort Walton Beach, Los Rancheros at 300 Eglin Parkway in Fort Walton Beach, and JB’s Chinese Buffet at 5206 S. Ferdon Boulevard in Crestview.
     Seven employees of Los Rancheros were arrested for using social security numbers that either belong to other persons or are counterfeit.

     Those arrested on charges of criminal use of personal identification information are:

  1. Guadalupe Gutierrez-Vallerio of 107 Tooke St., FWB, (12/12/84), server at Los Rancheros.
  2. Maria Del Carmen Sanchez, 33 Temple Ave, FWB, (3/14/83),cook at Los Rancheros.
  3. Oscar Fernando Salazar Chama, 214 Forrest St, FWB,  (6/7/73),bus boy at Los Rancheros
  4. Tania Padilla, 107 Tooke St, (2/6/85), a waitress at Los Rancheros
  5. Jorge Ramos, 2800 Bradford St, Apt. 2, FWB, (2/24/77),waiter at Los Rancheros
  6. Olegario Seis Pintor, 199 Rose Marie Lane, FWB, (3/6/75),waiter a Los Rancheros
  7. Luis Alberto Lopez, 199 Rose Marie Lane, FWB, (9/5/82), waiter at Los Rancheros

     A 17-year old juvenile visiting a friend at Los Rancheros was picked up on an outstanding warrant for failure to appear and is charged with providing a false name to a law enforcement officer.

     In addition, Shuy Liang Dong of 308 Coral Drive, FWB, part-owner of Panda China Buffet, is charged with burglary to an unoccupied structure and resisting arrest without violence. Investigators say Dong ran from the restaurant when officers arrived, ignored orders to stop, and tried to hide in a shed.

     The investigation at JB’s Buffet is ongoing.

     Fourteen law enforcement officers from the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, Fort Walton Beach Police Department, and the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office took part in the operation, along with three investigators from the Department of Financial Services Workers Compensation Compliance Branch in Fort Walton Beach.

     A stop work order from the Compliance Branch means the business must close until the agency conducts a follow-up investigation of insurance issues and approves re-opening. Workers compensation violations may be handled as civil fines, or in certain cases, prosecuted as fraud.

     All foreign-born subjects meantime will be reported to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for follow-up.