ROYAL OAKS, Calif. (AP) — A dilapidated greenhouse at a northern California nursery was home to dozens of farmworkers and their families who were living in tiny and unsafe dwellings without ventilation, authorities said May 12.
Officials found 62 makeshift dwellings inside the greenhouse on a property in rural Monterey County that were put together with plywood, sheetrock and other materials, said Nick Pasculli, a county spokesman.
“There are exposed gas lines and wiring, no proper sewer. The conditions are very rough,” Pasculli said.
It was not yet clear if the farmworkers were employed at the nursery in the community of Royal Oaks or just lived there, Pasculli said.
He added that some residents were paying up to $2,000 per month in rent and one told investigators he had lived there for more than eight months.
Nor have investigators determined yet where the migrant families are from, according to Pasculli, though some of them speak indigenous languages native to the Mexican state of Oaxaca.
Authorities started investigating the property this week after receiving an anonymous complaint.
The nursery owner will be fined nearly $60,000 each day his property is in violation of structural, health and environmental codes, Pasculli said.
The landlord’s name is not being released due to an ongoing investigation, he said.
County officials were working with the families to find suitable housing and their landlord will have to pay for two months of rent for each of the 62 families that were living on his property, Pasculli said.