A Cedar Falls restaurant owner accused of hiring illegal aliens to work at his business has been ordered to prison after once again failing to show up for his sentencing. Thirty-two-year-old Julio Zapala-Urbina had pleaded guilty in June of last year to harboring an illegal alien for profit. Zapala-Urbina was part owner of Julio’s Restaurant and Cantina in Cedar Falls, and the owner of two other Julio’s restaurants in Missouri.
Last April, immigration officials raided the Cedar Falls business and arrested 11 illegal aliens who were working in the restaurant, and did not have authorization to work in the U.S. A few days later, agents went back to the restaurant and found another illegal working there who had been brought up from Missouri. Zapala-Urbina was originally scheduled to be sentenced in January, but failed to appear. Authorities were tipped off that he had fled to his native Mexico on Christmas Eve.
A warrant was issued for Zapala-Urbina’s arrest and the sentencing was reset for February 20th. Zapala-Urbina again failed to show up and U.S. District Court Judge Linda Reade opted to proceed with sentencing, giving Zapala-Urbina 21 months in prison and ordered him to forfeit over $34,000 in cash seized from the restaurant and its bank account.