Arrests made in trafficking of a local 13-year-old girl


Gang members lured a 13-year-old girl into an East Side home last year and forced her to smoke crack before they pimped her for $25, authorities say.

The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office Human Trafficking Unit learned of the crimes, which took place over a week in December 2007 and January 2008, from a probationer.

The victim — who they’re calling “Lisa” — was too terrified to call police, said Deputy Ino Badillo, a Sheriff’s Office spokesman.

“These types of cases … are becoming more frequent,” Badillo said.

In June, deputies said an underage runaway they called “Angela” had contracted HIV and Hepatitis C while enduring forced prostitution for years by an older man and woman.

“Human trafficking is more than just people coming to us from other countries. They’re now kidnapping our own girls and keeping them captive for prostitution,” Badillo said.

Two of four suspects in the most recent case have been arrested and jailed.

The Tactical Response Unit of the San Antonio Police Department on Friday arrested 19-year-old Nicholas Davila, a known gang member, on a warrant charging him with aggravated sexual assault of a child. He is being held in lieu of posting $75,000 bail.

Juan “Spider” Moreno, 44, another known gang member, also was arrested and booked into Bexar County Jail following recent indictments. He’s being held in lieu of $75,000 bail on a charge of trafficking of persons less than 18 years old for prostitution.

Chris Burchell, CEO and president of the Texas Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Child Sexual Exploitation Coalition, said the indictments are a result of stronger state laws and cooperation among law enforcement agencies.

Still wanted on a warrant charging him with aggravated sexual assault of a child is 29-year-old Roland Leija. Authorities are searching for at least one other suspect in connection with the kidnapping of Lisa.

Deputies said Lisa was at a store on Porter and South Walters when she followed a friend to Juan Moreno’s home across the street. After Lisa walked into a restroom, Moreno and another man locked the door from the outside then told her friend that Lisa had gone home, deputies said.

While Moreno held her captive in a bedroom, Davila and Leija recruited neighborhood men to have sex with the girl for $25 each, Badillo said.

“They then got her high on crack and forced to have sex with up to 15 people over the next week,” Badillo said.

At one point, after the girl tried to escape, her captors tied her down to the bed. She endured an unknown number of sexual assaults before a young boy who entered the home happened to see her through a doorway.

“When he recognized her and realized what was going on, he arranged to get her out by distracting the guys,” Badillo said. “After she got out of the house, the boy helped her run away.”

For weeks, she remained silent, because her captors had threatened her family, Badillo said. She began talking, though, after deputies alerted her that they received a tip from the probationer.

Lisa now is in a safe place and receiving counseling, authorities said.


Published in: on August 29, 2009 at 8:46 am  Leave a Comment  
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