An investigation by the sheriff’s department in Kern County, California revealed 16 people being held captive inside a home in Bakersfield.
A neighbor’s home security camera captured video of a man who escaped a home where he claims to have been held captive. Footage shows him running up to another home and banging on the garage door shouting, “Help us.”
The incident happened Friday shortly after midnight on the 8300 block of Cha Cha Court in east Bakersfield.
Sheriff’s deputies arrived and contacted the man, who told authorities he was held captive in a home after being smuggled into the United States from Mexico. He also said approximately 15 other people, including his wife and a child, were being held against their will.
Kern County deputies executed a search warrant at the residence but did not find anyone inside.
Further investigation revealed the victims had been taken to two locations, one in the 600 block of South Haley Street and the other at the 500 block of Sloan Lane near Foothill High School, KSCO said.
A total of 16 victims, 7 female, and 9 male were rescued. They range from ages 8 to 66.
A source told KTLA’s sister station KGET the victims had been transported by boat from Ensenada to the San Diego area. They were then transported by vehicle to Bakersfield.
Nine suspects were arrested on charges including kidnapping, false imprisonment, human trafficking for labor purposes, and criminal conspiracy.
A prosecutor said the case may be referred to federal authorities.