The Calaveras County Sheriff’s Department have announced this week that two women have been arrested in connection to a violent kidnapping that occurred earlier this year in Northern California. In February this year, Guadalupe “Lupe” Arrellano went to a business in Modesto where laborers often gathered. She offered 2 brothers a job working on a landscaping project. The men were taken to work at a home in West Point for a couple of days before violently being taken away to a remote marijuana farm that the sheriff’s department described as being down a “long, narrow, winding road to the middle of nowhere”.
After the Abduction
The men were brutally beaten, tortured, threatened and forced to work on the marijuana farm under horrific conditions. Arrellano went to the men’s home address and visited the family of the captive men. She told the family the men were working on her marijuana farm and offered to take 2 more family members to the farm. She told the family that if they went to the police, the men would be killed. The family were constantly monitored, visited and threatened during the duration of the men’s captivity.
The Daring Escape from the Marijuana Farm
The other 2 brothers were taken to the marijuana farm where they were threatened and forced to join work alongside their relatives. The men were all forced to sleep on cots outside and when they complained, they were severely abused. The men overheard their captives talking about how they would be killed once the harvest was complete. Around the time that the harvest was finished, one of the captors attempted to stab one of the men, coming at him with a knife and a gun. It was on this night of July 27th that the men escaped, fleeing to a West Point home where authorities were called and the men were taken to hospital. Three of the men had extremely bad injuries and 1 of them had to be taken to the trauma center, due to how badly he was beaten.
Possible Cartel Connections
On September 14th in Modesto, Arrellano (43) and Medarda “Daniella” Ubrieta Estudillo (34) were arrested and charged with kidnapping, human trafficking, battery with serious bodily injury, making terrorist threats and drug charges. Arrellano and Estudillo were in the country illegally and known to use multiple aliases. The farm was not surprisingly unregistered. Authorities are investigating a possible drug cartel connection to the large, isolated marijuana farm and the captors. A shrine to Santa Muerte, the saint of death, was found during a search of a home that is connected to the incident. This specific saint is popular amongst drug traffickers and cartels. The Calaveras County Sheriff’s Department are still looking for 2 men in connection to the incident. These are the 2 men who helped keep the brothers captive, including their nephew.
The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors made it legal for farmers to grow medical marijuana for commercial sale in May this year. This was an urgency ordinance intended to help farmers recover from the Butte fire that destroyed 70,000 acres of land and 549 homes, killing 2 people. Arrellano’s farm was unregistered but still located in the county. Authorities warn that as long as the cannabis industry still has an unregulated underground economy, these kinds of violent, horrific incidents can occur.