SANTA ANA (CBS/AP) — A man was charged Monday with bringing three teenage girls from Texas to Southern California to work as prostitutes.
KNX 1070’s Ron Kilgore Reports
The girls were reported missing Friday after relatives in Irving, Texas, said they had received calls from the 15- to 16-year-old girls saying they were staying in a motel in Orange County with a man they met through a friend. The mother of two of the girls told authorities that her daughters called to say they were being forced to take drugs and work as prostitutes, according to a federal affidavit.
Investigators traced the calls to a cell phone belonging to Samuel Martinez Gonzalez, 26, and tracked it to an area off Interstate 5 in Santa Ana. There, they spotted him walking with three young women, including one who was reported missing, the affidavit said.
About an hour later, they were led to a motel room in nearby Orange where they found the other two missing girls.
The girls said Gonzalez invited them to California to see the beach, but that when they arrived he took them shopping for “hoochie dresses” and then to a restaurant where he told them he expected them to work as prostitutes, the affidavit said.
During the probe, investigators found receipts in Gonzalez’s wallet for condoms and empty boxes of condoms in the motel room.
They also picked up a call to his cell phone from someone who wanted to arrange sexual services.
“This is every parent’s nightmare,” said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigation in Los Angeles.
“Fortunately … the three Texas girls were rescued before they could be forced to engage in any acts of prostitution.”
Investigators believed two young women who were with Gonzalez when he was arrested were already working for him as prostitutes.
One was believed to be 18 years old. The other was underage.
The Texas teens were taken into protective custody and the underage girl is being cared for by a relative, authorities said.
Gonzalez told investigators that while visiting Texas, a friend asked to come with him to California and bring her friends along, the affidavit said.
He said he didn’t know the girls’ names and believed that they were 18 and 19 years old.
Gonzalez was charged with transporting minors with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. He faced up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
A federal magistrate ordered him held without bond on Monday and set his arraignment for Sept. 6.
(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)