Dozens of people believed to be victims of human trafficking were found at an illegal marijuana processing site in Merced County, according to authorities. About 60 people were discovered processing marijuana when deputies with the Merced County Sheriff’s Office served a search warrant at a location in the 900 block of Vassar Avenue on Wednesday, according to a Merced County Sheriff’s Office social media post.
According to Deputy Alexandra Britton, deputies served the search warrant at about 5:30 p.m., after investigators developed information that marijuana was being illegally cultivated at the residence. Authorities said the deputies found that the people, who are believed to be victims of human trafficking, were processing hundreds of pounds of finished marijuana product. TOP VIDEOS Investigators learned that the victim’s had arrived at the property days earlier and were promised they would have a place to stay and a good paying job.
Authorities said that once they arrived at the location, the victims were forced to process the marijuana while subsisting in substandard living conditions as a way to repay the people who brought them across the border. According to the sheriff’s office, none of the men and women on the property was injured and they have been offered multiple resources.
Authorities said Child Protective Services was contacted after a juvenile was found to be working in the operation. That juvenile has since been released to parent. Britton said deputies did not locate any weapons at the site and none of the people located at the residence are facing charges at this time.
“They’re victims in this and it’s an active investigation,” said Britton.
The Merced County Sheriff’s Office Animal Services Bureau also responded to the location and rescued two dogs and three goats that had not been adequately cared for.
According to Britton, the United States Department of Homeland Security was contacted and responded to the scene to assist in the investigation.
The investigation is ongoing as authorities work to locate the responsible individuals. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Merced County Sheriff’s Office Investigations Bureau at 209-385-7472.
Tips can remain anonymous, according to authorities. Dozens of human trafficking victims forced to process marijuana and live in horrible conditions, were located when deputies served a search warrant in the 900 block of Vassar Avenue on Wednesday, according the the Merced County Sheriff’s Office. Image courtesy of Merced County Sheriff Office. Andrew Kuhn firstname.lastname@example.org
Dozens of human trafficking victims forced to process marijuana and live in horrible conditions, were located when deputies served a search warrant in the 900 block of Vassar Avenue on Wednesday, according the the Merced County Sheriff’s Office. Image courtesy of Merced County Sheriff Office. Andrew Kuhn email@example.com
Read more at: https://www.mercedsunstar.com/news/local/crime/article277722743.html#storylink=cpy