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Pot farmer confessed to keeping girl in box, feds say

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 04:58 a.m. HST, Aug 02, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO » One of two men accused of sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl, keeping her captive in a metal box and forcing her to work on a large Northern California marijuana growing operation has confessed, federal prosecutors said in court documents.

Prosecutors say Ryan Balletto, 30, and Patrick Pearmain, 24, both had sex with the girl who was cutting marijuana buds for them at Balletto's Lake County property.

The two were scheduled to enter pleas today in federal court in San Francisco. They are charged with marijuana possession and using a minor in drug operations.

But prosecutors said Balletto already has confessed, according to court documents arguing Balletto and Pearmain should remain behind bars during the case.

"The government ... has a recorded, Mirandized confession by Balletto, a recorded statement from the minor victim, and multiple recorded statements from others who were working on the grow site," prosecutors wrote.

Authorities in Lake County learned about the case when the Los Angeles Police Department advised that Balletto might have kidnapped her.

Deputies visited Balletto's home asking about the missing girl April 29, the complaint said, and she called authorities the next day to say she was OK and in Sacramento.

LAPD investigators traced the call and police located the girl at a West Sacramento hotel, where authorities arrested Pearmain, the complaint said.

Back at Balletto's pot farm, officers found "equipment consistent with sexual bondage and sadomasochism," including a rack "presumably used to attach a human to the device and immobilize them." Near the rack officers found a towel with blood stains.

The girl, described as a runaway from the Los Angeles area, told investigators she was locked in a 4-by-2-by-2-foot box. Holes had been drilled in the box, and water was run through the box to wash her without letting her out, the complaint said.

Investigators found human hair inside the box, where prosecutors said the girl was imprisoned "on multiple occasions, for days."

A message left this morning for Balletto's attorney, Jodi Linker of the Office of the Federal Public Defender, was not immediately returned. Pearmain's lawyer, Robert Waggener, also did not return a call.

Hundreds of marijuana plants and several firearms, including AR-15-style assault rifles and body armor were found as part of the investigation.

Prosecutors described Balletto as an ex-Marine who was preparing for an extended battle.

"The presence of so many weapons on the grow site, including two assault rifles and eleven loaded 20- and 30-round magazines ... indicate that Balletto was prepared to engage in an extended gun battle," prosecutors wrote.

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cartwright wrote:
Yes, that's how those dopers play.
on August 2,2013 | 06:02AM
jess wrote:
Not all of them. These are sick people, like Ariel Castro sick. It doesn't take that to be a pot farmer. Many pot farms in Nor Cal are family run operations.
on August 2,2013 | 09:12AM
OregonRedRaider wrote:
put um in a box....after they get introduced into the "Yard" with the general population....
on August 2,2013 | 06:12AM
soundofreason wrote:
From another news story, I already knew it was illegal to put a 14yr old in a box. But a fifteen year old is illegal too? Somebody needs to write all these rules down somewhere. I'll be right back - I have to take care of something real quick.
on August 2,2013 | 07:02AM
loquaciousone wrote:
on August 2,2013 | 07:10AM
cojef wrote:
Shades of Ariel Castro in the making. The damage done to this young girl will require years of therapy. Monster of the pot world. Wonder if these two would have graduated to the level of the Mexican cartel atrocities, like beheadings and dismemberings. Very scary.
on August 2,2013 | 07:55AM
HAJAA1 wrote:
You see, there is simply no just punishment for these types of pathetic losers, except for the same torture to happen upon them. Eye for an eye. Or death. Who agrees?
on August 2,2013 | 08:37AM
Shh wrote:
I agree! They need a taste of their own medicine!
on August 2,2013 | 09:17AM
false wrote:
I'm pretty sure the crime rate would drop substantially if we utilized this system of justice.
on August 2,2013 | 09:47AM
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