REDWOOD CITY (KPIX) — San Mateo County leaders and immigrant advocates are begging a judge not to release an alleged rapist and human trafficker but the defendant said he is worried about a coronavirus outbreak in the jail.
Joshua Gamos is currently locked up at the Maple Street county jail in Redwood City while he awaits trial. On Monday morning, he will ask a judge either to release him or lower his bail from $3 million to $300,000. Some lected leaders and community activists in the county are protesting.
“Joshua Gamos is charged with three counts of rape and, as a woman and a mother, that’s a big concern to me,” said Daly City vice mayor Juslyn Manalo.
San Mateo County and state Attorney General Office investigators said Gamos was the ring leader in a human trafficking case that spanned over 10 years and victimized more than 100 mostly undocumented Filipino workers.
“It’s modern day slavery,” said San Mateo County supervisor David Canepa.
San Mateo district attorney Stephen Wagstaffe echoed that sentiment.
“They had these people very close to being enslaved and that’s why, in the history of our county, it’s the most serious we’ve ever dealt with,” Wagstaffe said.
Three other Gamos family members also face human trafficking and wage theft charges. A judge ordered the release of Carlina and Noel Gamos on April 13. The community is now trying to stop the release of Joshua.
“We are concerned of flight risk. We are concerned about undo witness influence,” Wagstaffe said.
44-year-old Joshua Gamos is also accused of repeatedly raping one young female. Investigators said they also seized illegal assault-style weapons from his home. The Gamos family ran six daycare and nursing home facilities, called Rainbow Bright, in Pacifica, South San Francisco and Daly City.
“(The Gamos family) used (the workers) as indentured servants and then treated undocumented people like animals by telling them to sleep outside and worked them 18 hours a day,” supervisor Canepa said.
At least two San Mateo County sheriff’s deputies who work at the county jails have tested positive for COVID-19.
The district attorney said the county has so far released about 150 non-violent inmates but criminal justice reform advocates said that’s not enough. They want the release of all inmates.
Alameda County has released convicted violent inmates because of their pre-existing conditions made them especially vulnerable to COVID-19.
“We would be more conservative. I’m grateful that we have the ability to be focused a little more on public safety,” said Wagstaffe. He said the county currently holds about 500 inmates at four different correctional facilities and he said there are no overcrowding issues.
County and state prosecutors will try to convince the judge that Joshua Gamos is a danger to society but, regardless of the outcome at Monday’s hearing, the Gamos family is scheduled to begin their criminal trial on June 17.