BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The Kern County Sheriff’s Office arrested nine suspects on suspicion of human trafficking for labor purposes, kidnapping and criminal conspiracy on Dec. 16. The victims ranged from ages 8 to 66, according to the sheriff’s office.

The sheriff’s office said at about 12:39 a.m. deputies received several reports of suspicious circumstances at Cha Cha Court for a male banging on doors and yelling for help.

At the scene, deputies found a male saying he escaped from a residence where he was being held against his will after being smuggled in from Mexico. The victim said 15 other individuals were being held, including his wife and minor child, according to KCSO.

Deputies identified a residence on Salsa Street as the residence where the victim fled, according to the sheriff’s office. Deputies executed a search warrant at the residence but deputies were unable to find anyone inside.

Investigation showed the victims were removed from the residence after the male victim fled.

According to KCSO, during a follow-up investigation, detectives identified a residence on South Haley Street and another on Sloan Lane as possible locations where the victims were being held.

According to the sheriff’s office, detectives executed search warrants for both residences and found all the victims.

In total, 16 victims were found 7 of them were females and 9 males, according to the sheriff’s office

According to KCSO the nine suspects were arrested and identified:

  • Erika Garcia, 32
  • Carlos Manuel Cortez, 37
  • Yesenia Garcia, 31
  • Alexis Medina, 26
  • Angel Meza Silva, 25
  • Ismael Heredia Medina, 23
  • Juan Jose Gonzalez, 30
  • Two 16-year-old boys

This is an ongoing investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call KCSO at 661-861-3110 or the secret witness line at 661-322-4040.