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Woman deported after $1200 casino win

Jan. 4, 2013 at 12:00 PM   |   Comments

TUCSON, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- A woman was deported to Mexico after her undocumented status was discovered as a result of winning a $1,200 jackpot at an Arizona casino, her daughter said.

Zamira Osorio said her mother, Mirna Valenzuela, won the sum at slot machines while visiting the Casino del Sol Resort in Tucson, The Arizona Republic reported Friday.

Casino officials said federal law requires them to check identification for tax purposes when someone wins $1,200 or more in a jackpot and the ID Valenzuela provided Dec. 3 was suspected to be fraudulent and reported to Pascua Yaqui police.

Police determined the ID was valid, but they also discovered Valenzuela and her daughter were undocumented immigrants from Mexico. Valenzuela was turned over to the Border Patrol and deported to Mexico.

"If they don't want anybody illegally there, they should put up a sign that says that they don't want anybody who's illegal, you know, playing at the casino," Osorio said, "This is really unfair. We feel really discriminated [against] ... This is the first time I got arrested in my whole entire life."

Wendell Long, chief executive officer of Casino del Sol Resort, said officials do not try to determine the legal status of patrons.

"It's not our policy to report people unless they've committed a serious crime," Long said. "A large portion of our business is Mexican-Americans and Mexicans from Sonora."

Long said Valenzuela can still collect her winnings if she is able to visit the casino in person with a valid ID.

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