- Friday July 26th, 2013 :: 04:27 p.m. PDT
Marijuana Growers Face Additional Charges for Human Trafficking, False Imprisonment and Molesting A Child
Public Information Release
July 26, 2013
Lieutenant Steve Brooks, Public Information Officer
On April 12th, of this year, the Lake County Sheriff's Narcotics Task-Force conducted a flyover of the property Balletto owned in the Ogulin Canyon area outside of Clear Lake and identified two greenhouses on the property that were believed to be full of marijuana plants.
On April 30th, The Los Angeles Police Department requested assistance regarding a missing teenage girl who they believed was being held against her will on Balletto's Lake County property in Ogulin Canyon.
That night, Deputies went to Balletto's residence, in Upper Lake where they spoke with Crista McConnell, who said she was Balletto's girlfriend and asked her about the missing juvenile and Balletto. McConnell told the deputy’s she did not know anything about the girl and would not allow a search of the residence with out a search warrant.
The following morning, a female called the Lake County Sheriff's Office's dispatch center, identified herself as the juvenile and told the dispatcher that she was OK. She then made a second call to the dispatch center and said she was with someone named "Ryan" in Sacramento.
Authorities determined that the call was made from a cell phone and tracked the signal to Sacramento. Later that evening, West Sacramento police officers found the 15-year-old girl and Patrick Pearmain at a hotel in West Sacramento. Pearmain was taken into custody for the narcotic charges and sexual intercourse with a minor. Pearmain was later charged human trafficking, Unlawful intercourse with a minor under 16 years of age, Oral Copulation, False Imprisonment and Molesting a child under 18 years of age.
On May 1, 2013 members of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team, Narcotics Task Force, and Major Crimes Unit served a search warrant on approximately 681 acres of property in the area of Ogulin Canyon in Clearlake Oaks. The property was owned by Ryan Alan Balletto. Within the marijuana grow detectives found multiple sexual items including sex bondage equipment, lingerie and large metal box with holes in it. The toolbox is approximately 4 feet long, 2 feet wide and 2 feet deep, that had been altered to imprison the victim for numerous days. Air holes had been drilled into the lid and a blanket left inside.
As a result of the searches 1491 marijuana plants were eradicated. Over $4000.00 in cash was seized. 22 weapons consisting of high powered military grade sniper and assault rifles, automatic assault rifles and pistols, in addition to ammunition, high capacity magazines, military grade body armor, and military grade scopes were seized. This has been the largest and most sophisticated bulk of weapons seized in recent Lake County Sheriff’s Office history.
Balletto was also found hunkered down in his trailer at the Ogulin Ranch. He too was taken into custody and booked for the narcotic crimes. He was later charged with human trafficking, Intercourse with a minor child of 14 or 15 years, and that person is at least 10 years older than the child, Unlawful intercourse with a minor under 16 years of age, Oral Copulation, Sodomy, False Imprisonment and Molesting a child under 18 years of age.
On May 2nd, an interview with the victim confirmed she was from the Los Angeles area and had been staying on a ranch for approximately three weeks. While at the ranch she was forced to trim the marijuana and have sexual intercourse, including sodomy and oral sex with Balletto and Pearmain. She told the detectives she was locked in the box and only fed crackers. There was a water bottle with a straw that would fit through the holes on the side of the box.
Sheriff Frank Rivero requested federal assistance and contacted the United States Attorney’s Office. On May 17th, The Lake County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit assisted the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Department of Defense with the service of a federal search warrant to locate additional items disclosed by the victim during her interview. The Major Crimes Unit and Federal Agencies located numerous items which were later seized.
Sheriff Rivero is expresses his deepest gratitude to the United States Attorney’s Office, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Defense for their uncompromising assistance and resources.
Lake County CA Sheriff's Department
1220 Martin St
Lakeport, CA 95453