The following is a press release from the California Highway Patrol Garberville Office. The information has not been proven in a court of law and any individuals described should be presumed innocent until proven guilty:
On August 7, 2021, at 3:10 pm, a California Highway Patrol Sergeant and Officer assigned to the Laytonville Resident Post were on patrol in the area of US-101, south of Laytonville, when they stopped for multiple subjects standing outside a 2003 Honda Accord with its hazard lights activated. The officers contacted the subjects for a welfare check and observed items commonly associated with marijuana cultivation inside the vehicle. Upon further questioning, the officers learned that 24-year-old Fernando Francisco of Santa Rosa, 36-year-old Abraham Sumano-Casillas of Santa Rosa, and 20-year-old Avertano Diaz-Martinez of Modesto were transporting two male juveniles ages 15 and 16 for the purpose of forced labor at a marijuana cultivation site. Subsequent to an on-scene investigation, Francisco, Abraham Sumano-Castillas, and Diaz-Martinez were booked into the Mendocino County Correctional facility on felonies 236.1(a) PC – Human Trafficking, and 273a(a) PC – Child Endangerment. The juveniles were turned over to the County of Mendocino Child Protective Services.