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INS Detains Trucker Caught With Trafficked Teens In Elmwood Park

Bogart Velasco
Bogart Velasco Photo Credit: Courtesy: BERGEN COUNTY SHERIFF

ELMWOOD PARK, N.J. – Federal authorities have issued a detainer on a 53-year-old Mexican national from California arrested in Elmwood Park on charges of trafficking two teenage girls to work as escorts.

Although a judge in Hackensack ordered Bogart Velasco of Fresno held on $500,000 bail, the INS request -- which is being honored by Bergen County authorities -- keeps him in the county lockup even if a bondsman is able to post the amount.

Velasco was caught "recruiting and employing two juvenile females to work as prostitutes in an on-going illicit prostitution operation that conducted business in and around the northern New Jersey area," Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said recently.

Elmwood Park police got a call from a woman in Fresno who said that her niece and another female minor had gone missing several days earlier.

"Based on social media postings, it was believed that the girls, ages 13 and 15, were at a hotel in Elmwood Park," Molinelli said.

Local police checked local hotels and found the girls at the Town House Inn & Suites on Route 46 and brought them to headquarters, the prosecutor said.

Velsaco, a married trucker, had driven them to New Jersey "to make money through prostitution," he said.

He also had sex with both of them at different times, Molinelli said.

The New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) took temporary custody of the girls.

The 5-foot-8, 265-pound Velasco, meanwhile, was charged with two counts each of human trafficking, promoting prostitution, sexual assault and aggravated sexual contact and one of child endangerment, among other offenses.

"The investigation is continuing and investigators are attempting to identify any other victims or employees of this illegal prostitution operation," Molinelli said.

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