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Restaurant owners, employee sentenced for hiring illegal workers

PEARL RIVER COUNTY — Three business associates of Mexican restaurants in Pearl River County have received probation on guilty pleas to a misdemeanor charge of hiring illegal immigrants.

The three and an employee had been indicted on felonies in federal court after raids shut down their restaurants in Picayune and Poplarville on Feb. 23. The charges were reduced to a misdemeanor after the fourth defendant was deported.

The Sun Herald reports restaurant owner Jose Gutierrez and business partner Juan Barajas each received three years’ probation in U.S. District Court in Gulfport.

The judge sentenced Evaristo Jimenez, a former employee, to one year of probation.

The four defendants were each indicted on a conspiracy charge and 20 counts of harboring illegal immigrants.

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