FORT WORTH -- A 20-year-old man remained in jail Wednesday, accused of forcing a 13-year-old girl into prostitution under the threat that he would take her to Mexico and kill her family if she refused.
Fort Worth officers arrested Jose Marcos Vasquez in Arlington on Tuesday night on a warrant alleging trafficking of a person under 14, a first-degree felony. Bail was set at $1 million.
The arrest came just days after Fort Worth police, working with the North Texas Trafficking Task Force, arrested three people in the alleged sex trafficking of a 17-year-old at a south Fort Worth motel.
In the most recent case, the 13-year-old had begun dating Vasquez last summer after meeting him through a mutual friend, said Jeremy Spann, a Fort Worth police detective assigned to the task force.
The girl told investigators that Vasquez had initially told her he was 17 and that he knew she was 13.
Beginning in September, the girl told investigators, Vasquez took her to an east Fort Worth mobile home and forced her to have sex with a man.
"She says that he would bring in johns who would pay him $300 to have sex with her and she didn't want to do it, but he told her 'If you don't do this, I'm going to take you to Mexico where your family will never find you and I'm going to kill your mother and brother,'" Spann said.
Investigators believe that the girl was coerced into prostitution on at least three separate dates, Spann said.
The girl's mother had reported her daughter as a runaway to Fort Worth police Jan. 10 after the teen didn't return from school.
On Jan. 20, a tip from a 16-year-old friend of the girl led officers to Vasquez's Fort Worth apartment, where they said they found the girl hiding in a closet. Vasquez was not there, and the girl was returned home. Spann said the girl was so fearful of Vasquez that she did not tell officers about being forced to be a prostitute.
"If she were to seek help, it wouldn't matter if he was in proximity or not, she felt his arms could reach her no matter what," Spann said.
Two days later, the 16-year-old friend filed a harassment report, saying Vasquez had threatened to "shoot your house down" and "beat you up" if she didn't get the 13-year-old to come back to him, according to a police report.
At that point, the case was forwarded to the task force. After interviewing the girl Feb. 16, investigators obtained a warrant for Vasquez's arrest. After weeks of searching, he was tracked to Arlington on Tuesday.
Spann said in a later interview with task force members Tom Peterson, a Dallas police detective, and Jason Hitchcock, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent, that Vasquez acknowledged having sex with and threatening the teen but denied forcing her into prostitution.
Police say Vasquez also faces charges of compelling prostitution and several counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child. Besides the $1 million bail, he is being detained on an immigration hold. Spann said Vasquez, who is in the country illegally, had previously been deported.
Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655