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Update: Couple Charged With Forcing Immigrants To Work For Free

The owners of Latino’s Mexican Restaurant in Shasta Lake City are accused of forcing a trio of immigrants to work for free. A federal indictment unsealed Monday charges Nery and Maura Martinez, both 50 years old, with conspiracy, forced labor, and alien harboring for financial gain. Between September 2016 and February 2018, the defendants allegedly conspired to bring a Guatemalan woman and her two minor daughters to the U.S. using temporary visitor visas, harbored them after their visas expired, and forced them to work long hours at the restaurant and a cleaning service for little to no pay. It’s also alleged that the Martinez’s imposed a debt on the victims to prevent them from returning to Guatemala; subjected them to physical, psychological, and verbal abuse; threatened to turn them in to authorities; and separated the woman from her daughters. If convicted of all the charges, the defendants face up to 30 years in federal prison, as well as restitution.