Four people charged in relation to a human-trafficking bust last year in Barrie made a court apperance in Bradford, Wednesday.
Facing 27 charges each – including trafficking persons, employing a foreign national without authorization, possession of property obtained by crime and participating in organized crime – are Patricia Zuniga Rojas, 54; Kevin Kielty, 51; Patricia (Patty) Camacho Zuniga, 24; and Ashley Camacho Zuniga, 19.
The four were charged May 23, 2019.
Charges were laid following a 2018 investigation by OPP, Barrie police and the Canadian Border Services Agency into the alleged illegal trafficking of Mexican-born workers through the Barrie-based cleaning company, RTL Services of Barrie.
Police identified 43 victims.
In Bradford court today, Crown counsel and counsel for the defence immediately asked Justice Nancy Dawson for time to consult, and that the matter be put over in light of the decision by the two daughters to seek independent representation in court.
“That is a fairly significant issue,” said Crown counsel Vhavna Bhangu, noting that the two would need time to confer with their new lawyers.
Kielty will be represented by Toronto lawyer Bruce Daley. Until now, the other three accused people were represented by Toronto lawyer Peter Thorning.
“These are important steps that need to occur. The Crown doesn’t feel this should proceed (at this time),” she said.
All four of the accused have been out on bail on an undertaking and promise to appear for court. Those conditions were also modified in court on Tuesday. Instead of requiring the accused report to the OPP detachment in Port Credit once per week, the reporting requirement has been reduced to once per month.
A new court date was set for Feb. 24.
- with files from Jessica Owen