Shasta County couple detained, facing charges of forced labor

Nery and Mara Martinez, who are facing forced labor charges, were ordered to stay behind bars on Tuesday.

Posted: Jun 24, 2019 12:16 PM
Updated: Jun 25, 2019 4:55 PM

UPDATE 4:37 p.m. Tuesday, June 25, 2019 - Nery and Mara Martinez, who are facing forced labor charges, were ordered to stay behind bars on Tuesday. 

A judge denied their bond in Sacramento, saying they were a flight risk and danger to the community. 

The couple is accused of forcing a Guatemalan woman and her daughters work at their restaurant for more than one year. 

Nery and Mara pleaded not guilty on Monday to the charges. 

They are up for bail review on July 2. Stay with Action News Now for the latest updates as they become available. 

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A Shasta County couple was indicted on Monday on charges of conspiracy, forced labor and alien harboring of a Guatemalan family.

The charges were filed against Nery Martinez, 50, and Mara Martinez, 50, of Shasta Lake. 

The Department of Justice said they are accused of conspiring to bring a Guatemalan woman and her two daughters to the United States using temporary visitor visas, harboring them after their visas expired, and forcing them to work long hours at a restaurant and cleaning service for minimal to no pay. 

The indictment alleges the incident occurred between September of 2016 and February of 2018.

According to the indictment, the defendants imposed a debt on the victims preventing them from returning to Guatemala, subjected them to abuse, threatened them with arrest, and separated the Guatemala woman from her daughters to compel their labor. 

If convicted, the defendants could face up to 30 years in prison and mandatory restitution. 

The couple is expected to be back in court on June 25th. 

The judge will then decided if the couple will remain detained or released on bail. 

Read the Department of Justice's full indictment below:

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