Office of Public Affairs |  Georgia couple charged with conspiracy to traffic in human beings, forced labor and alien smuggling

Today, a 16-count indictment was vacated charging a Georgia couple with conspiracy to human trafficking, forced labor and alien smuggling in connection with the operation of two Mexican restaurants, Sabor A Mexico at 805 Floy Farr Parkway, Fayetteville, Georgia and Sabor A Mexico at 7860B Ella Lane, Fairburn, Georgia.

According to the indictment, Efrain Gonzalez, 40, and Estella Gonzalez, 34, both of Peachtree City, conspired to engage in human trafficking between March 2021 and October 2022. The indictment alleges that the couple used violence, threats of violence, coercion and abuse of the law and legal process to force the victims into forced labor. The indictment also alleges that the couple engaged in smuggling aliens for commercial reasons, with Efrain Gonzalez being accused of smuggling aliens on five counts and Estella Gonzalez on one count.

The forced labor charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, supervised release for up to five years, and a fine of up to $250,000. A federal district court judge will determine the sentence based on US sentencing guidelines and other legal factors.

The announcement was made by Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, US Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan for the Northern District of Georgia and Acting Special Agent Travis Picknard of HSI Atlanta.

Assistant US Attorney Annalize Peters and Trial Attorney Kate Hill from the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Division are prosecuting the case.

Anyone who believes they have been a victim of this case or who has relevant information is asked to call the HSI hotline at 866-DHS-2423.

If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, please call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

An accusation is just an allegation. All accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.