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Published: Friday, 12/29/2006

2 illegal immigrants working at Penta project

BY JOE VARDON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Covain Covain
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Two illegal immigrants who were doing roofing work at the Penta Career Center's new campus construction site were picked up by Rossford police yesterday during a routine traffic stop, authorities said.

The two men were arraigned in Perrysburg Municipal Court yesterday and are being held in lieu of $10,000 bonds at the Wood County jail. According to Penta, both work for Quality Roofing in Ann Arbor.

Ricardo Delatorre-Covian, 27, was charged with failure to stop and driving with a suspended license. Miguel Martinez, 27, was charged with a failure to stop and driving without a license.

Rossford police Sgt. Brian Cranny said the two men - who were driving separate vehicles but headed in the same direction - were pulled over around 8:25 a.m. for running a stop sign at Buck and Lime City roads.

While being interviewed, Sergeant Cranny said, Mr. Delatorre-Covian told police that the two men were from Mexico and in this country illegally.

Martinez Martinez
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A woman who answered the phone at Quality Roofing but would not give her name said the company has paperwork that proves the two men are not in this country illegally. She declined The Blade's request to produce those documents.

"They ran through a stop sign and that's it," the woman said.

The woman later denied the two men worked at Quality Roofing and said she had never heard of either of them.

Both men gave the same Detroit home address and southern Michigan phone number to police. When dialed, the phone number produced the voice message: "You have reached Ricardo Delatorre with Quality Roofing."

Mr. Delatorre-Covian and Mr. Martinez are scheduled for a pretrial hearing at 8:30 this morning and will be handed over to federal authorities after serving their punishments tied to the traffic violations, officials said.

Tim Counts, a spokesman for the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a wing of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that is handling this case, said his agency will schedule a deportation hearing. Mr. Counts also said Quality Roofing could come under scrutiny from ICE.

"If we find evidence the company may be involved with purposefully hiring illegal immigrants and producing false documents, we might launch an investigation on them," Mr. Counts said. "But it is premature to speculate on that because we won't be involved until the matter with the police is finished."

Tim Davis, director of operations at Penta, said the project's general contractor, Mosser Construction of Fremont, has been told not to allow Quality Roofing to work at the job site today.

Mr. Davis said Quality Roofing will be prohibited from working at Penta until it can prove its employees have the safety training and legal documentation required by the government.

"I'd like to think this kind of stuff doesn't still go on, but it does," Mr. Davis said. "Roofing in general is a tough business, and maybe it's tough to get workers together to do the job."

Penta's new campus, located off of I-75, between Buck, Bates, and Lime City roads, is scheduled to open in 2009. Targeted to cover 522,000 square feet and cost up to $94 million, Penta's construction project has been plagued by problems, including theft on the job site.

"There are going to be little glitches with a project like this," Mr. Davis said. "There's not much we can do about it other than to try to correct the problems and move on."

Blade staff writer Erika Ray contributed to this report.

Contact Joe Vardon at:

jvardon@theblade.com

or 419-410-5055.



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