Cops: Pot Farmers Kept Teen Girl in Metal Box

2 arrested in California, accused of keeping her for sex, work

By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 26, 2013 4:34 PM CDT

(Newser) – Police shut down a big pot farm in California's Lake County, but the two men arrested are expected to face far more horrific charges. Authorities say the men kept a 15-year-old girl in a metal box on the farm, reports the Los Angeles Times. They had sex with her, and held her so she could help process the marijuana, say police. The 4- by- 2-foot box had air holes so she could breathe, and one paragraph in the LAT story is especially tough to take:

  • "The girl said she was kept in the box for a total of three days and was given water through a hose. The box was hoisted into the air and tilted at an angle so when water was poured inside it would wash the girl and clean human waste out of the box, court documents say. "

In addition to destroying more than 1,000 pot plants, police confiscated a massive cache of weapons and all kinds of sex and bondage equipment, reports CBS San Francisco. Ryan Balletto, 30, and Patrick Pearmain, 24, are charged with conspiracy to distribute marijuana, using a minor in a drug operation, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. So far, no charges have been filed regarding the teen's abuse. Lake County authorities unraveled the case when the LAPD called and asked about a possible connection between the missing girl and Balletto.

Suspects Ryan Balletto, 30, and Patrick Pearmain, 24.
Suspects Ryan Balletto, 30, and Patrick Pearmain, 24.   (Lake County Sheriff's Department)
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