Shasta County Couple Pleads Guilty To Holding Guatemala Family For Forced Labor

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August 24, 2021 astatine 4:51 pm

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP/CBS13) — A Shasta County mates pleaded blameworthy Tuesday to forcing a Guatemalan comparative and her 2 daughters to enactment agelong hours nether mediocre conditions portion keeping the girls retired of schoolhouse with threats that they would beryllium deported.

Nery Martinez Vasquez and his wife, Maura Martinez, some property 53 and some of Shasta Lake, adjacent Redding, pleaded blameworthy to conspiracy to perpetrate forced labor.

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Both are naturalized U.S. citizens primitively from Guatemala who promised their comparative a “better life” if she came to America successful September 2016, national prosecutors said.

Instead, they forced the household members to overstay their visas and enactment agelong hours for small to nary wage astatine their restaurant, called Latino’s, and astatine their Redding Carpet Cleaning & Janitorial Services, which served country businesses including aggregate car dealerships.

“This lawsuit highlights however the imagination of coming to the United States to statesman a new, promising beingness tin go a nightmare,” Sean Ragan, peculiar cause successful complaint of the FBI’s Sacramento tract office, said successful a statement. The 3 worked successful nationalist view, helium said, “yet were imprisoned by fearfulness and the lies they had been told by their exploiters.”

As portion of the plea agreement, prosecutors dropped charges filed successful June alleging that successful 1997 the mates conspired to kidnap a 13-year-old miss from her Las Vegas home, past held her against her volition for astir 2 years portion Martinez Vasquez repeatedly raped and sexually molested the girl.

The forced labour condemnation carries a condemnation of up to 20 years successful national prison, but prosecutors besides agreed to urge a condemnation of 6 1/2 years, said Sacramento country lawyer Mark Reichel.

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“We were capable to marque an statement that everyone could unrecorded with,” Reichel said. ”Going to proceedings successful national tribunal is ever an utmost gamble.”

Prosecutors said the mates told the pistillate and her daughters that they couldn’t permission until they paid a fictitious indebtedness successful full. They threatened to person them arrested for overstaying their visas and told the daughters they couldn’t spell to schoolhouse due to the fact that they would beryllium deported.

Instead, the girls worked for the couple’s businesses until February 2018, wherever Martinez Vasquez would sometimes deed them with a instrumentality erstwhile helium was angry, prosecutors said.

They and their parent were forced to unrecorded successful what prosecutors described arsenic “dilapidated, unheated trailer with nary moving water.”

Prosecutors did not disclose the girls’ ages, nor would they springiness the family’s existent circumstances.

The mates agreed to wage the household and different victims $300,000 successful restitution arsenic portion of their plea agreement.

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“These defendants utilized the committedness of America to lure the unfortunate and her children to the United States successful hunt of a amended life, lone to crook astir and usage that anticipation to exploit their dreams nether cruel conditions,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “There is nary spot for specified cruel behaviour successful our society, and the Department of Justice remains committed to eradicating quality trafficking.”

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