Family indicted after Wheaton restaurant raid
By David C. Lipscomb
Federal prosecutors are seeking nearly $8 million in cash, property and other assets from the owners of a Wheaton restaurant charged with employing illegal aliens and laundering money. The request was part of a grand jury indictment Monday against the four family members, who own and run the El Pollo Rico restaurant.
Francisco Carlos Solano, 55, and his wife, Ines Hoyos-Solano, 59, both of Germantown, along with Mr. Solano's sister, Consuelo Solano, 69, of Arlington, and his brother, Juan Faustino Solano, 57, of Kensington, were indicted in U.S. District Court in Maryland.
"These employers are alleged to have lined their pockets with millions of dollars and gained an unfair advantage over their competitors by systematically exploiting illegal aliens and paying them under the table," U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said.
The indictment culminated a yearlong investigation of the business by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Internal Revenue Service after the organizations noticed suspicious bank transactions, said ICE Special Agent in Charge James Dinkins.
From June 2002 to September 2006, hundreds of deposits in amounts less than the $10,000 cut-off that would require reporting to the federal government were made into an El Pollo Rico business account, totaling more than $6.6 million, according to court documents.
On July 12, immigration authorities raided the restaurant in the 2900 block of Ennalls Avenue and took nine employees into custody, Mr. Dinkins said. Eight remain in custody, and one was released because he is a minor.
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