STILLWATER — Federal agents searched a popular Mexican restaurant Sept. 4 because of suspicions that it hired workers smuggled into the country illegally, new court records show.

An El Vaquero assistant manager, Hector Flores-Contreras, was charged Wednesday in Oklahoma City federal court with conspiracy to harbor “illegal aliens” and with conspiracy to possess false documents. He is being held in the Tulsa County jail.

Flores-Contreras admitted hiring “illegal aliens” because they are “harder workers,” a special agent with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security wrote in an affidavit supporting the criminal complaint. He also admitted that he scheduled the employees to work six days a week, 10 hours per day, and that he assists new hires with obtaining fraudulent documents, the agent wrote.

More federal charges are expected against others, referred to in the affidavit only as “known co-conspirators.” Flores-Contreras said they knew “he hires illegal aliens to work at the restaurant,” according to the affidavit.

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