Lawsuit filed against immigration agents

Oct. 10, 2011 at 2:47 PM

NASHVILLE, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- Four Nashville residents are suing U.S. immigration agents, claiming the officers illegally entered their apartment while looking for a suspect in the building.

An attorney representing the four says U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, acting on an old address for a target of an Oct. 1, 2010, raid, arrested the current residents, The (Nashville) Tennessean reported Monday.

The ICE agents reportedly were searching for MS-13 and SUR-13 gang members.

"This is not the only time this has happened," said immigration attorney Elliott Ozment, who filed the federal civil rights lawsuit on behalf of the four. "They get an old address, they go to that old address looking for somebody who hasn't been there in years and arrest others incidentally. That's the way they operate."

The plaintiffs, Pablo Cahuec-Castro, Myra Leticia Juarez, Ottoniel Perez-Piox and Maria del Rosario Osorio, say ICE agents entered their apartment last October and subjected them to unreasonable search and seizures.

"Defendants violated plaintiffs' clearly established constitutional rights by arresting them after an illegal entry into their residence, unlawful and involuntary custodial interrogation, unlawful search and seizure of … Cahuec-Castro's cellular phone, and an unlawful search of plaintiffs' home," the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit also names the apartment complex's owner, manager and former maintenance supervisor as defendants, in addition to ICE agents.

Ozment said Cahuec-Castro is currently fighting deportation in immigration court and Perez-Piox has returned to Guatemala.

The lawsuit seeks compensation for physical and mental pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and medical and psychological expenses.

Following the Oct. 1, 2010, raid, ICE agents carried out a larger raid at the Nashville apartment complex that resulted in the arrests of 20 people.

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