DOJ: ‘Modern-Day Slavery’ Scheme Run by Illegal Aliens Trafficked Foreign Visa Workers to Georgia Farms

Fernando Llerenas picks pears in Hood River, Oregon on August 13, 2021. - Amid an abnormal heat wave in the Pacific Northwest, farm workers are having their days, and profits, cut short by the extreme temperatures. July was the hottest month ever recorded, according to data released, by the National …
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The Department of Justice (DOJ) released a 54-count indictment that charges 24 individuals, many illegal aliens, with operating a “modern-day slavery” scheme that utilized the H-2A visa program to traffic foreign workers into United States farm jobs — raping, kidnapping, and threatening them in the process.

The indictment accuses the Patricio transnational criminal organization (TCO) — named after its matriarch, 70-year-old Maria Leticia Patricio — of operating a massive forced labor trafficking scheme since 2015 that used the H-2A visa program to traffic foreign workers from Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras into farms jobs in Georgia.

Prosecutors called the scheme “modern-day slavery,” alleging that 24 members of the Patricio TCO engaged in mail fraud, international forced labor trafficking, and money laundering, among other crimes, across Georgia, Florida, and Texas.

According to the indictment, the Patricio TCO raked in more than $200 million from the forced labor trafficking scheme. As part of the scheme, the group sought to traffic more than 71,000 foreign workers to the U.S. using the H-2A visa program.

The H-2A visa program allows farms to bring an unlimited number of foreign workers to the U.S. every year to take American agricultural jobs. As Breitbart News has chronicled for years, the program is often used to replace Americans and preserve the low cost of farm labor.

The Patricio TCO, the indictment alleges, would secure H-2A visas for foreign workers, demand they pay them unlawful fees by keeping their immigration paperwork from them, require them to work in harsh conditions for little-to-no pay, make them reside in brutal living conditions, and would threaten them with deportation if they disobeyed orders.

In some cases, the indictment states, the trafficked foreign workers were required to dig onions in Georgia farms with their bare hands, were paid only 20 cents for each bucket harvested, all while being threatened with violence.

The various Georgia farms that contracted the trafficked foreign workers reside in Atkinson County, Bacon County, Coffee County, Tattnall County, Toombs County, and Ware County.

Members of the Patricio TCO would launder their millions in profits from the scheme through home and land purchases, cars, businesses, and casinos, the indictment alleges. Over the course of the investigation, the indictment states that three members attempted to intimidate witnesses to lie to a federal grand jury.

The 24 members of the Patricio TCO charged in the indictment include five illegal aliens. Those charged include:

  • Maria Leticia Patricio, 70, of Nichols, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud; two counts of Mail Fraud; Conspiracy to Engage in Forced Labor; and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering;
  • Daniel Mendoza, 40, of Ruskin, Fla., charged with Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud; Conspiracy to Engage in Forced Labor; and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering;
  • Nery Rene Carrillo-Najarro, 56, Douglas, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud; Conspiracy to Engage in Forced Labor; 14 counts of Forced Labor; and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering;
  • Antonio Chavez Ramos, a/k/a “Tony Chavez,” 38, a citizen of Mexico illegally present in the United States, charged with Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud; Conspiracy to Engage in Forced Labor; four counts of Forced Labor; and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering;
  • JC Longoria Castro, 46, Vidalia, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud; Conspiracy to Engage in Forced Labor; four counts of Forced Labor; and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering;
  • Victoria Chavez Hernandez, 38, a citizen of Mexico illegally present in the United States, charged with Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud; Conspiracy to Engage in Forced Labor; and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering;
  • Enrique Duque Tovar, 36, of Axon, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud; Conspiracy to Engage in Forced Labor; nine counts of Forced Labor; and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering;
  • Jose Carmen Duque Tovar, 58, of Axon, charged with Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud; Conspiracy to Engage in Forced Labor; nine counts of Forced Labor; and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering;
  • Charles Michael King, 31, of Waycross, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud; Conspiracy to Engage in Forced Labor; and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering;
  • Stanley Neal McGauley, 38, of Waycross, charged with Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud; Conspiracy to Engage in Forced Labor; and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering;
  • Luis Alberto Martinez, a/k/a “Chino Martinez,” 41, of Tifton, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud; Conspiracy to Engage in Forced Labor; and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering;
  • Delia Ibarra Rojas, 33, of Lyons, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud; Conspiracy to Engage in Forced Labor; three counts of Forced Labor; and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering;
  • Juana Ibarra Carrillo, 46, of Alma, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud; Conspiracy to Engage in Forced Labor; and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering;
  • Donna Michelle Rojas, a/k/a “Donna Lucio,” 33, of Collins, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud; Conspiracy to Engage in Forced Labor; three counts of Forced Labor; and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering;
  • Margarita Rojas Cardenas, a/k/a “Maggie Cardenas,” 43, of Reidsville, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud; Conspiracy to Engage in Forced Labor; three counts of Forced Labor; Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering; and Tampering with a Witness;
  • Juan Fransisco Alvarez Campos, 42, a citizen of Mexico illegally present in the United States, charged with Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud; Conspiracy to Engage in Forced Labor; and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering;
  • Rosalvo Garcia Martinez, a/k/a “Chava Garcia,” 33, of Haines City, Fla., charged with Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud; Conspiracy to Engage in Forced Labor; and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering; and Tampering with a Witness;
  • Esther Ibarra Garcia, 63, of Dade City, Fla., charged with Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud; Conspiracy to Engage in Forced Labor; three counts of Forced Labor; and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering;
  • Rodolfo Martinez Maciel, 26, a citizen of Mexico illegally present in the United States, charged with Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud; Conspiracy to Engage in Forced Labor; three counts of Forced Labor; and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering;
  • Brett Donavan Bussey, 39, of Tifton, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud; four counts of Mail Fraud; Conspiracy to Engage in Forced Labor; Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering; and Tampering with a Witness;
  • Linda Jean Facundo, 36, of Tifton, charged with Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud; Conspiracy to Engage in Forced Labor; and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering;
  • Gumara Canela, 34, of Alma, charged with Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud; Conspiracy to Engage in Forced Labor; 14 counts of Forced Labor; and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering;
  • Daniel Merari Canela Diaz, 24, a citizen of Mexico illegally present in the United States, charged with Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud; Conspiracy to Engage in Forced Labor; and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering; and,
  • Carla Yvonne Salinas, 28, of Laredo, Texas, charged with Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud; Conspiracy to Engage in Forced Labor; and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering.

Those charged with conspiracy to engage in forced labor and simple forced labor face up to life in federal prison without parole while those charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, mail fraud, money laundering conspiracy, and tampering with a witness face up to 80 years in prison without parole.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at jbinder@breitbart.com. Follow him on Twitter here

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