A Santa Ana man was charged today with taking three teenage girls from Texas to Orange County to work as prostitutes.
Samuel Martinez Gonzalez, 26, is accused of transporting minors with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. He was arrested Friday night in Santa Ana and made his initial court appearance this afternoon before a federal magistrate in Santa Ana, who ordered him held without bond.
The defendant is due back in court on Aug. 29 and also has a Sept. 6 arraignment date.
The girls were reported missing Friday after relatives said they had received calls from the teens, who allegedly left Irving, Texas, with Gonzalez and drove to California.
Gonzalez took the girls to a Wal-Mart to shop for “hoochie dresses” and then took them to a restaurant where he told them he expected them to work as prostitutes, federal prosecutors allege in court documents.
Another teenage girl with the group was already allegedly working as a prostitute for Gonzalez, according to the federal complaint.
Two of the girls — 15 and 16 years old — were found Friday night at Motel 6 in Orange and told investigators they were relieved and eager to go home, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The three girls were placed in protective custody and the fourth girl who was allegedly working for Gonzalez was being cared for by family, according to authorities.
“This is every parent’s nightmare,” said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for Homeland Security in Los Angeles. “Fortunately … the three Texas girls were rescued before they could be forced to engage in any acts of prostitution.”