Written by THE BUSINESS JOURNAL STAFF
A Fresno man has been convicted of human labor trafficking and extortion in one of California’s first farm labor trafficking cases.
On Aug. 31, A Fresno County jury convicted Efren Alvarez, 53, of one felony count of human trafficking, and three felony counts of Extortion in order to keep laboring the victims in March of 2016.
Alvarez would obtain the victims’ visas, passports, and permits as collateral for a loan, and would then threaten to harm and report them to immigration authorities if they did not continue to work for him. Eventually, the victims contacted the United Farm Workers for help, who then notified law enforcement.
Alvarez will be sentenced in the Fresno County Superior Court by judge Jonathan Conklin on Oct. 1, and faces a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.
The Fresno Police Department’s Vice Unit investigated this case and it was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Lynette Gonzales and Senior District Attorney Investigator Shari Hall of the Office’s Human Trafficking Unit.