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Shasta Lake Restaurant Owners Who Forced Immigrant Relatives To Work For Free Are Sentenced To Prison

A couple of Shasta Lake City restaurant owners who forced immigrant relatives to work for free have been sentenced after a plea agreement was reached last year with federal prosecutors. In 2016 the owners of Latino’s Mexican Restaurant, 54-year-olds Nery Martinez Vasquez and Maura Martinez, brought a family member and her two minor daughters, ages 8 and 15, to the U.S. from Guatemala using temporary visitor visas, harbored them after their visas expired, and forced them to work long hours for little or no pay at Latino’s Restaurant, as well as for their other business, Redding Carpet Cleaning and Janitorial Services. They subjected them to abuse, threatened them with arrest and separated the mother from her daughters in order to compel them to work. They invented a debt that they told the woman she owed them but made it impossible for her to pay it back. The victims were housed in a dilapidated trailer with no running water, and they were beaten, humiliated and degraded in front of other people. Nery beat the children with a stick that had the girls’ names written on it. Last August Nery and Maura pled guilty to conspiracy to commit forced labor. On Monday Nery was sentenced to 6-and-a-half years in federal prison. Maura got a 3 year sentence. After that they’ll have 3 years of supervised release and must pay a $25,000 fine. They also must pay $300,000 restitution to the victims.