Houston cantinas busted for human trafficking of young girls
HOUSTON (CNN) — Texas authorities bust a criminal organization in Houston for alleged human trafficking.
The FBI and other agencies raided night clubs where they say young girls were locked up, beaten, and sold for sex.
Federal authorities led dozens of people in handcuffs from two cantinas in southeast Houston marking the end of a two and a half year long investigation.
They learned over the years from one another, then they evolved like any other criminal organization.
Investigators say the businesses served as bars and brothels where the accused ran a multi-million dollar prostitution ring.
The dozen victims who were rescued were from Mexico and among them, five were minors.
Investigators say patrons were charged anywhere from $65 for 15 minutes, to up to $500 per hour.
The price varying based on their looks and their youth.
The raid, authorities say, sheds light on the fact that Houston is ranked one of the highest in the nation for human trafficking.
"Some started this horrific way of life, this forced way of life by the promise of love, the promise of luxury, the promise of a better life."
Fourteen people are now facing federal charges, but authorities say this man is still on the run.
Alfonso Diaz-Juarez, also known as Pancho, is a 45-year-old Mexican citizen.
He's 5 feet 2 inches tall, and may still be in the Houston area.
"These folks were hiding in plain sight."
"What you have here, is a bar that apparently had a community reputation."
Authorities say while the arrests are a success, this latest raid is only a small dent in the human trafficking scene.
"There are other business out there that we know are doing and there other victims out there."