ELMWOOD PARK, N.J. -- A 53-year-old Mexican national from California was ordered held on $500,000 bail on charges of trafficking two teenage girls to work as escorts after Bergen County authorities arrested him at a local hotel.
Bogart Velasco of Fresno was charged with "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 this morning.
Elmwood Park police got a call Wednesday night from a woman in Fresno who said that her niece and another female minor had beenmissing since Sunday, Molinelli said.
"Based on social media postings, it was believed that the girls, ages 13 and 15, were at a hotel in Elmwood Park," he said.
Elmwood Park 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) was caring for the girls.
The 5-foot-8, 265-pound Velasco, meanwhile, was being held in the Bergen County Jail, charged with two counts each of human trafficking, promoting prostitution, sexual assault and aggravated sexual contact and one of child endangerment, among other offenses. Arraignment was set for this coming Tuesday.
"The investigation is continuing and investigators are attempting to identify any other victims or employees of this illegal prostitution operation," Molinelli said this morning.
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