HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Two Mexican nationals who were working on tomato farms in Homestead were indicted Friday by the U.S. Department of Justice on charges of participating in a conspiracy to provide and obtain forced labor.
Agustin Mendez-Vazquez, 43, faces a maximum prison sentence of 40 years if he is convicted and his son, Ever Mendez-Perez, 23, faces up to 20 years in prison if he is found guilty.
According to court records, the family worked as unlicensed subcontractors on tomato farms in the Homestead area and used physical force, threats of physical force, threats of deportation and debt bondage to maintain control over other migrant workers.
Prosecutors said other workers were beaten by the men if they did not work every day, and were often subjected to harassment and abuse.
The workers were also forced to give a large sum or all of their paychecks to the Mendez-Perez family, prosecutors said.
The father and son are being held in jail without bail while they await trial.