Shasta County Couple Sentenced for Conspiring to Subject Mother and Her Two Daughters to Forced Labor
Attorney General Merrick B. Garland Announces Justice Department Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment today against Tion Makeise Foster, 21, and Monica Merlin Morales, 25, both of Point Arena, charging them with sex trafficking a minor and conspiracy to traffic a minor, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to court documents, the defendants transported a 16-year-old female victim to various places in the Eastern District of California and the Bay Area in August 2016 so that she could engage in commercial sex acts for their financial benefit. They subsequently conspired to traffic her again in November and December.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the Yuba County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michele Beckwith is prosecuting the case.
If convicted, Foster and Morales face a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.