BARBOURSVILLE — No "large-scale operations" by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are currently active in Barboursville, ICE spokesman Adrian Smith of the agency's Philadelphia office said Friday. The question was raised after numerous rumors ICE had raided Tortilla Factory near the Huntington Mall, which was closed for reasons unknown Friday.
A man — who identified himself as the restaurant's co-owner — was reached by phone Friday afternoon at Tortilla Factory's sister restaurant, Whiskey Taco in Hurricane, but said he was not aware of any situation at Tortilla Factory or why it would be closed. It is not known if Tortilla Factory will reopen this weekend.
No individuals suspected of being targets of an ICE raid were lodged in Western Regional Jail as of Friday night. The federal magistrate's office in Huntington, which would have arraigned any individual on federal immigration charges, had not seen anyone suspected of an immigration violation as of leaving at 2 p.m., federal clerks in Huntington said.
However, four men were booked into South Central Regional Jail on federal immigration charges all at once Friday afternoon, according to booking records. The men, ages 24, 24, 48 and 46, were all listed as Hispanic, though the county in which they were arrested was not released.
It is not known if all four men were arrested together at the same location, or brought together after arrest by federal agents and jailed at once.
SCRJ generally serves the Charleston area and surrounding counties.
According to federal court filings, no one in West Virginia's Southern District had been charged with federal immigration violations as of Friday night.
The statement from ICE, however, did not rule out that a smaller, targeted enforcement on one or a few individuals may have taken place. Smith added in the statement that ICE "does conduct targeted enforcement operations in compliance with federal law and agency policy every day in West Virginia and across the nation."
West Virginia Public Broadcasting reported ICE conducted raids in the Morgantown area Friday, though no connection between those and a possible Barboursville raid are known.
The office of Mike Stuart, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia, deferred comment to Smith with ICE's office.
Cabell County Sheriff Chuck Zerkle, who was traveling Friday, said he was not aware of an ICE raid and that the department was not involved. Barboursville Mayor Chris Tatum also said he had no knowledge of a raid.