BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Charges were not filed Tuesday against human trafficking suspects arrested in Bakersfield last week and a prosecutor said the case may be referred to federal authorities.
The suspects remained in custody as of 3 p.m., according to inmate records. Erika Garcia, Carlos Manuel Cortez, Yesenia Garcia, Alexis Medina, Angel Meza Silva, Ismail Heredia Medina and Juan Jose Gonzalez are each held on more than $1 million bail on suspicion of human trafficking for labor and kidnapping, among other offenses.
Two 16-year-old boys were also arrested, according to sheriff’s officials.
Early Friday, deputies received reports of a person banging on doors and yelling for help. That person told deputies he had escaped from a home where he was being held against his will after being smuggled into the country from Mexico, according to sheriff’s officials. He told deputies 15 others, including his wife and child, were being held.
Detectives identified a residence on South Haley Street and another on Sloan Lane as possible locations housing the victims, according to the sheriff’s office. They executed search warrants at both locations. A total of 16 human trafficking victims were found, officials said.
Anyone with information on this case is asked to call Kern County Sheriff’s Office at 661-861-3110 or Secret Witness at 661-322-4040.