SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Authorities said a 15-year-old girl was forced to work on a marijuana grow and sexually abused by two men in Northern California who allegedly locked her in a metal toolbox for days.
The allegations against 30-year-old Ryan Balletto and 24-year-old Patrick Pearmain are outlined in a criminal complaint that was unsealed in federal court in San Francisco.
Authorities alleged Balletto and Pearmain used the girl to cut marijuana buds at a Lake County property and had sex with her.
The box where the girl was held captive was right next to a trailer on the grow operation property. The girl told police she spent at least 3 days locked inside the 4 by 2-foot case.
Near the box, officers said they also found a noose and a rack to hold someone against their will, as well as other sex devices related to bondage. The girl told police that the men called her a “trooper” because she didn’t scream while being locked inside the box.
The feds were already investigating the grow operation when the LAPD called Lake County authorities alerting them that a girl who had been reported missing in Los Angeles might have been kidnapped and held in Clearlake against her will.
Along with more than a thousand marijuana plants, the cops also confiscated a stash of weapons, which they described as “the largest and most sophisticated bulk of weapons seized in recent Lake county Sheriff’s Office history.”
As for the girl, authorities said she’s in a safe place now. One law enforcement source told KPIX 5 that there is some indication there may be more victims. The feds are asking if anyone else has been victimized by the suspects to alert the department of homeland security.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether Balletto and Pearmain had retained attorneys.
(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)