Five People Charged with Forced Labor Conspiracy Involving Trafficking of Victims from Georgia to Work on Wisconsin Farms
United States Attorney Matthew D. Krueger of the Eastern District of Wisconsin announced today that five people were indicted for conspiracy to commit forced labor, labor trafficking, and five additional labor-related offenses. The defendants are alleged to have trafficked the victims from Georgia to Wisconsin to work on farms located in the Eastern District of Wisconsin in 2016.
The indictment named:
|Saul Garcia, Jr
|Maria Remedios Garcia-Olalde
According to the indictment, the defendants conspired to provide the labor and services of fourteen adult victims, all of whom are male Mexican nationals, by means of (1) serious harm and threats of serious harm, (2) abuse and threatened abuse of legal process, and (3) a scheme intended to cause the victims to believe that, if they did not perform such labor and services, they would suffer serious harm. The indictment alleges that to restrict the victims’ movement and ability to travel while in Wisconsin, the defendants’ possessed the victims’ passports. Two of the five defendants—Saul Garcia Sr. and Maria Remedios Garcia-Olalde—were also indicted on obstruction charges.
“Trafficking another human being is a particularly vile crime,” said U.S. Attorney Krueger. “The Department of Justice is committed to prosecuting anyone who seeks to sell another person’s freedom.”
If convicted, the defendants face up to 20 years in prison on the charges of forced labor conspiracy, trafficking with respect to forced labor, financial benefit from forced labor, obstruction of a labor trafficking investigation, and witness tampering. The indictment also identifies fifteen real properties located in Georgia.
The defendants were charged based on a multi-year investigation by law enforcement agents and officers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Human Trafficking Task Force, including special agents and officers representing the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations and the City of Racine Police Department.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Laura S. Kwaterski, Erica J. Lounsberry, and Karine Moreno-Taxman.
The public is cautioned that an indictment is merely a charge and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.