The Gamos family was accused of preying on undocumented or vulnerable members of the Filipino community for labor exploitation by placing advertisements in a Filipino newspaper within San Mateo County.
After being hired, employees were forced to work nearly 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and slept on the floor or in garages, according to the criminal complaint. The employees also weren't allowed to talk to each other, had their requests for higher pay refused, and weren't allowed time off from work.
The workers were paid about $1,000 to $1,200 per month, according to the criminal complaint.
The four defendants allegedly threatened to turn the employees over to U.S. immigration officers, and confiscated their passports to deter the workers from leaving.
Alleged Crimes Were 'Despicable'California Attorney General Xavier Becerra described the alleged crimes of the Gamos family as despicable.
"We must not turn a blind eye to abusive labor practices," Becerra said in a statement released on Sept. 7. “No worker in the United States should live in fear or be subjected to violence, abuse or exploitation at the hands of their employer.”
The attorney general estimated the amount of the unpaid wages and overtime at $8.5 million.
Becerra revealed at a press conference that one of the defendants was also charged with rape, but wasn't more specific.
"One defendant is being charged, with three counts ... of rape against a female employee he was trafficking," the attorney general said.
According to San Mateo County Sheriff's Office jail records, Joshua Gamos was charged with forcible rape.
During the investigation, authorities also seized 14 illegal assault weapons—including three "ghost gun" rifles. Ghost guns are firearms without serial numbers that allow individuals to bypass background checks and registration regulations, according to the statement.
"These weapons were found, in some cases, in those facilities or in the residence of the owners of these facilities," Becerra said.
The charges against the Gamos family are a result of a joint investigation conducted by multiple federal and state law-enforcement agencies.
The defendants are currently being held at two locations, the Maguire Correctional Facility and the Maple Street Correctional Center.
California is one of the largest sites of human trafficking in the country. In 2016, 1,331 cases of human trafficking were reported in the state, with 147 of these being labor-trafficking cases.