Sunny Sharma’s Leighton Avenue business, Best Deli & Food Market, was open Monday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)
Federal immigration officials say Red Bank retailer Sunny Sharma remains in their custody and will be deported, but they’re mum on why and so is his fiancé, who now appears to be running his Leighton Avenue grocery.
Sharma was arrested at his store as a fugitive last Thursday afternoon and “will be removed from the country,” Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Harold Ort tells redbankgreen.
Agency privacy rules prohibit the disclosure of any additional information regarding Sharma’s whereabouts or the particulars of his case, Ort says. “Fugitive” can mean several things, including ignoring an immigration court order or illegal re-entry into the U.S., Ort says.
Sharma, who lived in Middletown, is a native of India.
Sharma’s business, Best Deli & Food Market, was open its usual hours on Monday, leaving some neighbors wondering what the scene Thursday was about, when Sharma was reportedly taken out of his store in handcuffs.
A woman inside the store who identified herself as Sharma’s fiance declined to comment and dissuaded a pair of men outside the store from commenting further to redbankgreen.
Before she did, though, the men, who didn’t want to be identified, said they felt Sharma had been a law enforcement target ever since he was stripped of his license to sell alcohol in 2007. Despite knowing Sharma, neither said they knew exactly what he was arrested for, but weren’t surprised.
“They’ve been (messing) with him ever since that,” one of the men who knows Sharma said. “What’s messed up is they were just on him, and all the other liquor stores around here have the same problem.”
A neighbor caddy-corner to Best, Wendy Hollander, said when she saw about four cruisers parked out front of the store, she assumed there had been a robbery attempt.
Since Sharma re-purposed his store, the area has quieted down and there hasn’t been as much congestion with illegally parked cars, she said.