Girl, 15, held captive on marijuana farm

July 27, 2013 at 5:36 PM
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LAKEPORT, Calif., July 27 (UPI) -- Three California men allegedly operating a marijuana-growing facility have been charged with kidnapping and sexually assaulting a teenage girl.

Immigration officials said they have been investigating the 680-acre parcel in Lakeport for several years. When they raided it, they found greenhouses filled with 6-foot marijuana plants, carefully arranged with individual irrigation systems, and a series of rusted out trailers and filthy living conditions.

In one of the structures, police found a metal box with holes drilled in it that the alleged victim, 15, said she was forced to live in for several days when she wasn't being sexually abused or being forced to help grow the plants, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The girl was taken to a motel in West Sacramento where she called for help.

Ryan Alan Balletto, 30, and Patrick Steven Pearmain, 25, face felony charges for allegedly running the marijuana-growing operation and sexually abusing the girl.

The Los Angeles Police Department arrested a third man, Eric Edgar, on suspicion of sexual assault. Edgar's relationship to the case wasn't immediately clear.

The girl was reported missing from her home in the San Fernando valley April 2. LAPD. Cmdr. Andy Smith said investigators believe she was homeless in Hollywood when she met Balletto, the Times reported.

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