ICE: Honduran girls forced to work as prostitutes at Mission bar
Fri, 15 Jan 2010 17:51:01 GMT —
A tip lead authorities to rescue three Honduran girls who claim they were smuggled into the United States and forced to work as prostitutes at a bar in Mission.
U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested El Paraiso Night Club owner Beleal Garcia-Gonzalez and Elizabeth Mendez-Vasquez on federal immigrant smuggling charges Wednesday.
A criminal complaint shows that Garcia-Gonzalez lured the Honduran girls with promises that they would be working at a restaurant and would be well taken care of.
But the girls told investigators that those promises were lies.
They claim they had to work as waitresses and prostitutes at the North Bentsen Palm Drive bar for only $20 dollars day.
Working on a tip, federal authorities raided Garcia-Gonzalez TMs home at 2307 Elizabeth Street in Mission on Wednesday.
Investigators rescued the 14- and 17-year-old Honduran girls from home on Lusby Drive in Mission.
The girls told ICE agents that they were guarded at all times and only allowed to be at the hours or the bar. Permission to go anywhere else had to be requested from Garcia-Gonzalez.
The Honduran girls told investigators that Garcia-Gonzalez kept all their money and that they referred to Mendez-Vasquez as their Patrona or boss.
Both Garcia-Gonzalez and Mendez-Vasquez appeared before U.S. Magistrate Court Judge Peter Ormsby in McAllen on Thursday.
Judge Ormsby denied bond for the both of them until a hearing on Wednesday morning.
Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission records list Garcia-Gonzalez as the owner of El Paraiso.
The bar TMs liquor license was first granted in September 2008.