TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Members of a Visalia family have been arrested for their alleged involvement in a drug operation and a human-trafficking ring, according to the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office.
Officials say 22-year-old Oswald Lopez of Farmersville, 43-year-old Armando Torres of Visalia, 45-year-old Amparo Torres of Visalia, and 18-year-old Armando Torres Jr., the son of Armando and Amparo.
Officials say the investigation into the operations began in November 2021, when a victim came forward to report they had been raped, assaulted, and trafficked.
While investigating, detectives say they learned that the same suspects involved in the human trafficking ring had been running a large-scale marijuana operation at several locations.
Detectives say they believe the marijuana operation was being carried out to help fund the human trafficking ring.
On May 19, detectives and officers from the Visalia Police Department served search warrants at seven homes in connection to the investigation.
During the searches, investigators say there was evidence found at each home implicating the main suspects, along with 3,762 marijuana plants, 268 pounds of processed marijuana, 268 pounds of processed marijuana, 615 pounds of semi-processed marijuana, 8 firearms, 5 grams of cocaine and 10 pounds of concentrated cannabis. In total, 13 people were arrested during the searches.
After the warrants were served, detectives say several more victims came forward to report they had also been assaulted, raped, and human trafficked by the same suspects.
Over this past weekend, officials say that 22-year-old Oswald Lopez of Farmersville, 43-year-old Armando Torres of Visalia, 45-year-old Amparo Torres of Visalia, and 18-year-old Armando Torres Jr., were arrested in connection to the drug operation and human trafficking ring. Investigators say Torres Jr. is the son of Armando and Amparo.
Deputies are also asking for the public’s help in finding 27-year-old Cristian Torrez and 43-year-old Juventino Torres in connection to the investigation.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Detective Janae Pinheiro or Sergeant Jessica Vieyra with the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office Human Trafficking Unit at (559) 733-6218.