Employees at several businesses in Moab on Tuesday, Nov. 13, said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers arrested a person at a local restaurant.
The reported arrest comes less than three months after the Aug. 24 arrests in Moab of nine men for alleged immigration violations.
Carl Rusnok, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director of communications for the central region, said ICE officers routinely make arrests on a daily basis nationwide.
He confirmed that one person had been arrested in Moab and one person was arrested in Green River on Nov. 13, but was unable to provide further information at press time.
Employees working downtown, and speaking anonymously, said a man was allegedly arrested by ICE officers at a South Main Street restaurant sometime before noon on Tuesday.
Moab City Police Chief Jim Winder said on Tuesday afternoon that the police department had heard reports of an arrest, but Winder said that he had not been contacted directly by ICE, reiterating that ICE officers make arrests without consulting local authorities.
Lieutenant Kim Neal at the Grand County Sheriff’s Office said on Tuesday afternoon that a person had been arrested, but said that the sheriff’s office was not involved with ICE’s operations.
On Tuesday, the South Main Street restaurant appeared to be closed during its normal business hours and the phone rang unanswered. Red business-style cards from the Graphic Communications Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters were wedged between the restaurant’s locked entry doors. The cards explained constitutional Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights.
“I do not wish to speak with you, answer your questions, or sign or hand you any documents based on my Fifth Amendment rights,” the cards explained in both English and Spanish.
The restaurant was open for business on Wednesday, Nov. 14, but employees said they were unable to confirm whether or not an arrest had been made the day before.
The Moab Sun News also received a report on Tuesday that another Moab restaurant was closed and an ICE arrest had been made there earlier in the day. A sign on that restaurant’s doors said it was closed for maintenance until 4 p.m., and an employee who answered the phone said the maintenance had been scheduled and that no arrests had been made at the restaurant.
Rusnok said that the nine men taken into ICE custody on Aug. 24 were all from Mexico and were “administratively arrested” for immigration violations.
Seven of the men had previous criminal convictions, Rusnok said, with three having criminal convictions for driving under the influence (DUI). Three of the men had previously been deported, he said.
For privacy reasons, Rusnok said ICE does not release the names of people who have been administratively arrested. He said the ages of the men ranged from 22 to 64.
As of Nov. 7, Rusnok said that of the nine men arrested, seven were removed to Mexico; one posted an immigration bond; and one remains in ICE custody.
The August operation targeted multiple locations in Moab, including Mexican restaurants and at least one hotel and multiple residential neighborhoods, forcing many businesses to shut down due to employee shortages.
Workers at downtown businesses report arrests
“Employees working downtown, and speaking anonymously, said a man was allegedly arrested by ICE officers at a South Main Street restaurant sometime before noon on Tuesday.”