California man who allegedly trafficked women through multiple states using force, fraud, and coercion arrested and indicted in Seattle
Seattle – A federal grand jury in Seattle today returned an indictment charging Rangel Ramirez-Manzano with four federal felonies related to his treatment of a victim smuggled into the U.S. at his direction, announced U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. Ramirez-Manzano, 55, allegedly paid smugglers $17,000 to bring the female victim to the United States from Mexico. The victim thought that she was moving to Washington to continue a long-distance romantic relationship with Ramirez-Manzano and that she would not be required to repay any costs associated with her travel across the border. Instead, she was abused and forced to work long hours to pay off the smuggling “debt.” Ramirez-Manzano allegedly threatened to kill her children if she did not continue back-breaking work for his landscaping business. Ramirez-Manzano will be arraigned on the indictment on February 23, 2023.
“Mr. Ramirez-Manzano allegedly stripped all human dignity from the victim in this case, forcing her to work long hours while he isolated and abused her,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. “Human trafficking is often called modern day slavery. I am pleased that our office is a leader in pursuing justice for victims in these difficult cases.”
According to records filed in the case, Ramirez-Manzano had known the victim when she was young in Mexico. He pursued a long-distance relationship with the victim, urging her to move to the U.S. to be his girlfriend. Ramirez-Manzano allegedly paid for her to be smuggled across the border and into southern California. Ramirez-Manzano picked her up from the smugglers and paid them. Almost immediately upon arriving in Washington, he forced her to begin hard labor for his landscaping business and threatened her, assaulted her, and threatened the children she left behind in Mexico.
The case files describe how he isolated her from others, restricted her food, and failed to pay her any wages for months of strenuous work at various landscaping job locations.
The victim was finally able to escape from Ramirez-Manzano’s home and asked a neighbor to call 9-1-1. The Monroe Police responded and took the victim for medical attention for multiple injuries. The FBI joined the Monroe Police in investigating the case. Ramirez-Manzano was charged by criminal complaint and arrested in September 2022. He has remained in federal custody ever since.
The indictment today adds a criminal count for forced labor. Currently trial is scheduled for September of 2023.
Forced labor is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Transporting an alien for financial gain and harboring an alien for financial gain is punishable by up to ten years in prison. Bringing an alien to the United States for financial gain is punishable by a mandatory minimum three years in prison and up to ten years in prison.
The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case is being investigated by the FBI.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kate Crisham. Ms. Crisham is the Western District of Washington coordinator of our efforts to stop human trafficking.
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.