MILWAUKEE, Wis. — Five people, four of them from Moultrie, face a variety of federal charges in Wisconsin, where they allegedly took 14 workers from South Georgia to work on farms in 2016.
In an indictment announced last week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin said Saul Garcia, 49, of Moultrie; Saul Garcia Jr., 26, of Moultrie; Daniel Garcia, 28, of Moultrie; Consuelo Garcia, 45, of Moultrie; and Maria Remedios Garcia-Olalde, 52, a Mexican national, have been indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit forced labor, labor trafficking, and five additional labor-related offenses.
According to the indictment, the defendants brought Mexican nationals into South Georgia under the federal H2A program. They allegedly falsified documents to indicate the workers would work only in South Georgia but then transported them to Wisconsin to work as well.
According to the indictment, the defendants conspired to provide the labor and services of 14 adult victims, all of whom are male Mexican nationals, by means of (1) serious harm and threats of serious harm, (2) abuse and threatened abuse of legal process, and (3) a scheme intended to cause the victims to believe that, if they did not perform such labor and services, they would suffer serious harm. The indictment alleges that to restrict the victims’ movement and ability to travel while in Wisconsin, the defendants possessed the victims’ passports. Two of the five defendants — Saul Garcia Sr. and Maria Remedios Garcia-Olalde — were also indicted on obstruction charges.
“Trafficking another human being is a particularly vile crime,” said U.S. Attorney Matthew D. Krueger. “The Department of Justice is committed to prosecuting anyone who seeks to sell another person’s freedom.”
If convicted, the defendants face up to 20 years in prison on the charges of forced labor conspiracy, trafficking with respect to forced labor, financial benefit from forced labor, obstruction of a labor trafficking investigation and witness tampering.
The indictment also says 15 real properties, at least $47,873.43 currently being held by a legal firm, and 15 vehicles could be subject to forfeiture. All of the land is in south Georgia, and most of it in Colquitt County:
• 108 Tallokas Trail, Moultrie.
• 180 Tallokas Trail, Moultrie.
• 295 Edwards St., Moultrie.
• 743 Old Norman Park Road, Norman Park.
• 1740 Fourth St. S.E., Moultrie.
• Parcel Number C054A 006 Dorminey Road, Moultrie.
• 200 E. 10th St., Adel.
• 129 Old Sardis Church Road, Moultrie.
• 146 Ewer Road, Moultrie.
• 340 Newsom Road, Moultrie.
• 309 N. College St., Sparks.
• 611 S. Hutchinson Ave., Adel.
• 936 Joiner Road, Adel.
• 6550 MJ Taylor Road, Hahira.
• 2267 Ione Road, Pavo.
The defendants were charged based on a multi-year investigation by law enforcement agents and officers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Human Trafficking Task Force, including special agents and officers representing the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations and the City of Racine Police Department.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Laura S. Kwaterski, Erica J. Lounsberry, and Karine Moreno-Taxman.