Although federal agents reportedly detained multiple undocumented adults while serving warrants at three locations in Stillwater on Wednesday morning, local agencies and officials have said it was not a raid by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
Agents with Homeland Security Investigations, a subsidiary division of ICE, served warrants at two restaurants and one residence in Stillwater in connection with an ongoing criminal investigation. The Stillwater News Press first reported agents had been seen at Palomino’s Mexican Restaurant and El Vaquero.
Capt. Kyle Gibbs of the Stillwater Police Department, which assisted agents in the operation, said a “majority” of those detained undocumented adults were released after a few hours.
Those still in custody are reportedly held on federal warrants in connection with the investigation, Gibbs said. Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Williams said in a statement Wednesday that no further information could be released on the nature of the investigation because it was ongoing.
HSI’s relationship with its parent agency led to erroneous reports on social media that ICE agents were in Stillwater “rounding up immigrants and taking children into custody,” according to a news release from police.
A Los Angeles Times story from March described HSI as a branch of ICE that “focuses on combating cross-border criminal activity and is billed as the investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security,” and though its cases may involve illegal immigrants, many don’t.