Leaders of California ministry charged with forced labor

EL CENTRO, Calif. (AP) — A dozen leaders of a California-based ministry have been charged with using homeless people as forced labor, holding them in locked group homes and making them panhandle up to nine hours a day, six days a week.

Leaders of El Centro-based Imperial Valley Ministries were arrested Tuesday in California and Texas.

A federal indictment alleges that the ministry promised dozens of drug addicts and the homeless free room and board to sort out their lives but instead locked them into group homes in Southern California, took their belongings, identification documents and welfare benefits.

The indictment says some were denied medical care, including a diabetic who eventually escaped. Prosecutors say all the alleged victims are now free.

A man who answered the phone at ministry headquarters Tuesday night declined to comment.

Associated Press

Associated Press

TOP STORIES

KBJR 6 Weather Authority

Ashland
64°
Hayward
Superior
60°
Hibbing
57°
International Falls
61°
Grand Marais
59°
Ironwood
62°
Siren
65°
Solon Springs
63°
Munising
Brainerd
64°
Bemidji
61°
Aitkin
Silver Bay
61°
Cloquet
57°
Cook
59°
Ely
59°
Grand Rapids
58°
Mora
59°
Moose Lake
61°
Orr
59°
Two Harbors
59°
Hinckley
63°
Connect with KBJR 6
Top Stories
Scroll to top
Skip to content