INDIANAPOLIS - Raids of 10 to 15 restaurants, including El Rodeo restaurants, in at least four Indiana cities are the focus of a multi-county investigation, a spokeswoman for the Marion County Prosecutor's Office said Monday.
Indiana State Police raided stores of the Mexican restaurant chain in Indianapolis, Lafayette, West Lafayette and Richmond.
Police took cash registers and boxes full of documents to the Marion County Prosecutor's Office. Sources confirmed that investigators were looking for evidence into possible money laundering and failure to pay sales taxes.
The Marion County and Tippecanoe County prosecutors' offices are leading the investigation, said Peg McLeish of the Marion County office.
"Our offices are coordinating the investigation. Beyond that, we don't typically share information about our investigation until charges are filed," she said. "The state police are assisting with the investigation and executing the search warrants."
Authorities were not disclosing the full details of the focus of the investigation.
"It's fair to assume search warrants were served in accordance with an ongoing investigation. It's appropriate and necessary at this point to remain confidential at this time," Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said.
In Richmond. The Palladium-Item reported six police cars, all but one unmarked, roared up to one location shortly before 11 a.m. Monday and blocked customers from walking inside, the newspaper reported. At the same time, officers raided the other Richmond location and closed it for the lunch hour as well. An officer who participated in one of the raids carried an armful of boxes into the restaurant.
In Lafayette and West Lafayette, police cars were parked in front of the businesses and customers were turned away, the Journal & Courier reported. A hand-written note stating that the business was closed was placed on the locked front door of the West Lafayette location.
Several stores remained closed on Tuesday, others planned to reopen.