BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Federal agents have arrested the owner of several western New York restaurants on charges he employed workers who were in the country illegally.

U.S. Attorney William Hochul (HOH-kul) says Sergio Ramses Mucino was among three people charged Tuesday with conspiracy to harbor aliens.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Mucino operates the Don Tequila and Agave restaurants in Buffalo and two others in nearby suburbs. Prosecutors say the majority of those he hired are in the country without legal permission and were paid in cash and housed at nearby apartments which he and the co-defendants rented or owned.

Several employees have been charged with illegal re-entry.

Mucino was released on $85,000 bail after appearing Tuesday in federal court.