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Three Indians charged of Human Trafficking in US

Friday, December 1, 2023 • Tamil Comments
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Three individuals from St. Charles County are now in custody, facing serious charges after allegedly deceiving and enslaving a family member who came to the United States from India under false pretenses. Venkutesh Sattaru, 35, Nikhil Penmatsa, 27, and Sravan Penumetcha, 23, are accused of multiple charges, including trafficking for purposes of slavery, contributing to human trafficking, accessory to domestic assault, armed criminal action, and kidnapping and abuse through forced labor. All three are being held without bond due to their perceived high political influence and wealth in India, as noted by investigators.

The investigation unfolded when concerned citizens reported a man in distress outside a residence in the 3900 block of Highway D. Responding to the call, St. Charles County Police found a 20-year-old man who, upon their arrival, opened the door and fled outside, pleading for help. Subsequently, Penmatsa and Penumetcha refused entry to the officers when they arrived at the door. Both were taken into custody, and the home was thoroughly processed by investigators, leading to the subsequent arrest of Sattaru. St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Joseph McCulloch identifies Sattaru as the primary suspect and reveals that he is related to the victim as cousins.

According to conversations and interviews with the victim, investigators believe he arrived in the U.S. on a student visa last year with aspirations of attending college. The three family members, including Sattaru, had initially indicated they would sponsor his time in the U.S. However, upon his arrival, the victim recounted being confined to the basements of various homes owned by Sattaru, including locations in Highway D, Dardenne Prairie, and O’Fallon. He was compelled to work at Sattaru’s company and perform other menial tasks around the homes. The victim faced brutal physical abuse when he failed to meet the defendants’ expectations, including being beaten with fists, kicked, stomped on, and whipped with an electrical wire. The victim reported instances of losing consciousness, and he endured sleep deprivation and starvation.

Currently in recovery at the hospital, the victim is undergoing evaluation for injuries and fractures to his hands, fingers, feet, arms, nose, and ribs. Additionally, he is receiving treatment for open cuts and scarring covering his entire body. This distressing situation highlights the severity of the victim's ordeal, and law enforcement is actively seeking justice for the reprehensible actions committed against him.

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