Feds: Lake County pot farmer confessed to keeping girl in box

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 Lake County 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 property.

The two were scheduled to enter pleas Friday 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.

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