In a tale straight out of a Northern California nightmare, two women stand accused of kidnapping four brothers and forcing them to work as slaves on a marijuana farm near the Sierra mountain town of West Point. The Associated Press reports that two of the four men had been held since February of this year, and that the suspects allegedly planned to kill them when the harvest was finished.
According to the AP, Guadalupe Sierra Arellano, 43, and Medarda Urbieta, 44, pictured above, have been charged with "human trafficking, kidnapping, battery with serious bodily injury, terrorist threats, and drug charges."
Another AP report tells us how this horrific story all went down. Apparently two of the brothers were lured to the farm with promises of day labor gardening work, but they were allegedly made to work on a marijuana farm and beaten and repeatedly threatened. Guadalupe Sierra Arellano then allegedly found out where the men's two brothers lived, and tricked them into coming to the farm — police say they were also then held against their will and forced to work.
Armed guards are reported to have stood watch over the men, and they were allegedly forced to sleep in a shack and repeatedly beaten.
The Pine Tree reports that in the days before their escape, they heard a male captor asking one of the female captors if he could kill the men. She allegedly told him to wait until the harvest was over. The male captor, who remains on the loose, allegedly tried to stab one of the men anyway.
The four brothers managed to escape on July 27 to a neighbor's home and notify the police. They all showed signs of being beaten — one so badly that he needed to be taken to a trauma center. The local police, SWAT, Bureau of Land Management, FBI, the county sheriff, and Angels Police Department K9s all served a search warrant on the farm the next day and found 23,000 marijuana plants and a handgun.
“We’ve seen an increase in violence, theft and greed related to marijuana trafficking, and this appears to be an organized, violent group,” Calaveras County Sheriff’s Captain Jim Macedo told the AP.
Neither Arellano or Urbieta have entered a plea, and investigators are looking into whether or not they have ties to Mexican cartels.