VIDEO: 2 East Bay fruit vendors arrested for allegedly selling without permit may be victims of human trafficking

 

ALAMEDA COUNTY (KRON) — What began as two fruit vendors being arrested for selling without a permit has now turned into a human trafficking investigation.

This bizarre turn of events is being looked into by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.

It was back on May 9 on two street corners in San Lorenzo where sheriff’s deputies responding to complaints about fruit vendors arrested two people who refused to stop selling even though they didn’t have a permit.

“When we asked these people to leave, particularly in the second incident with the lady, when we asked people to leave, they refused to several times, she could not leave,” Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Ray Kelly said.

At the time, they didn’t realize these two arrests occurred within an hour of each other and on opposite sides of town.

Now that they have connected the two, they have found some striking similarities.

“Both of these people were on immigration enforcement releases and that they had ankle bracelets assigned to them. So, we found that strange,” Sgt. Kelly said.

They also realized that both had been dropped off at their locations and reported to a supervisor.

“When we look at it now, we begin to be a little suspicious,” Sgt. Kelly said. “Are these people being exploited and put out into the streets to work for someone, and who are they working for, and are these people violating labor codes, and more importantly, are these people being exploited? Are they being trafficked?”

That is the investigation that is now going on.

“If they’re forced to do it, that’s wrong, totally wrong,” resident Patricia Juarez said.

Juarez lives across the street from where one of the fruit vendors was arrested.

She says she see fruit vendors there at least once a week.

“I can understand about the human trafficking because they could be intimidated by being told if you don’t sell for me, we will deport you, we will turn you into the police and we’ll have you arrested, and that will scare people especially if they are illegal,” Jaurez said.

Here is a statement from ICE:

“Some individuals currently in immigration proceedings are managed through Alternatives to Detention (ATD). Low risk detainees are sometimes released on an Order of Recognizance, bond, or GPS monitoring. Detention is primarily reserved for aliens who pose a danger to the public or are deemed a flight risk.”

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