He invited the three Irving teens to California to visit the beach, but authorities say Samuel Martinez Gonzalez had more sinister plans.
Once they arrived, he took the three girls -- 15- and 16-year-old sisters and their 15-year-old friend -- shopping for dresses and high heels with plans of making them work as prostitutes.
Gonzalez was arrested and the three teens were rescued Friday in Orange County by agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations and the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
"This is every parent's worst nightmare," Claude Arnold, special agent in charge of HSI in Los Angeles, said in a news release. "Fortunately ... the three Texas girls were rescued before they could be forced to engage in any acts of prostitution."
Gonzalez was charged Monday -- his 26th birthday -- in U.S. District Court with transporting minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, punishable by 10 years to life in federal prison. He was ordered held without bond and remained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals on Tuesday, said Virginia Kice, an ICE spokeswoman.
The girls were taken into protective custody. A fourth minor, a 17-year-old from California who authorities say had also been forced into prostitution by Gonzalez, was also rescued.
An affidavit filed with the court describes how Gonzalez lured the girls to California, based on two of the girls' statements to investigators. According to the affidavit:
The girls had met Gonzalez through his ex-girlfriend -- a friend of the 16-year-old -- and had accepted his offer to go to California to hang out and visit the beach.
The ex-girlfriend had warned the 16-year-old that Gonzalez was a "pimp" and had previously prostituted her out during a trip to California, but the 16-year-old girl decided to go anyway, believing that the ex-girlfriend was just jealous.
On Aug. 6, Gonzalez drove the three girls, and a woman he presented as his "homegirl" who went by the name of Asia, from Texas to California.
They all stayed in a motel, and the fourth girl later joined them.
Gonzalez took all the girls shopping, buying "hoochie" dresses, high heels and condoms. He later tried to persuade the Irving teens to work for him as prostitutes, saying that it would be "fun" and that that was how "we get money out here."
A relative reported the 15-year-old as a runaway to Irving police Aug. 8, according to police spokesman John Argumaniz. Three days later, he said, the sisters were reported missing by their family.
Argumaniz said Irving Detective Rodney Bergeron connected the cases and alerted federal agencies after learning that the girls had called relatives, saying that they were in Orange County, being drugged and forced into prostitution.
After talking to the girls' friends, Bergeron identified Gonzalez. Through a cellphone number that the detective obtained, federal authorities tracked Gonzalez to Santa Ana, where he was found with three females, including one of the missing Irving girls.
About an hour later, federal agents and officers with the Orange Police Department found the other two missing girls in a motel room in Orange.
Gonzalez, who the affidavit states was born in Mexico but is a legal permanent resident of the U.S., told authorities that he believed that the Irving girls were 18 and 19 and that they had permission to go to California.
Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655