California pair charged with holding Guatemala woman, girls

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a Northern California couple forced a Guatemalan woman and her two minor daughters to work long hours at a restaurant and cleaning service for little or no pay.

They unsealed an indictment Monday after the arrests of Nery Martinez Vasquez and Maura Martinez, both from Shasta Lake, about 170 miles north of Sacramento.

The couple, who are naturalized citizens from Guatemala, are being held on charges of conspiracy, forced labor and harboring for financial gain.

Defense attorney Tasha Paris Chalfant declined comment.

Prosecutors say they brought the woman and her daughters to the United States in 2016 using temporary visitor visas. They are alleged to have separated the mother from her daughters, threatened them with arrest, and subjected them to physical, psychological, and verbal abuse.

 

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