Government witnesses, Homeland Security Investigators testify in sex-trafficking trial

Government witnesses, Homeland Security Investigators testify in sex-trafficking trial
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POSTED: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - 2:13pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - 7:29pm

Two witnesses testified Wednesday in the sex-trafficking trial of Charles Marquez of El Paso.  Homeland Security Investigator Agent Anthony Miranda was the first to take the stand.  The first witness, a government source, took the stand Tuesday. 

As part of "Operation Cross Country" Agent Miranda worked with several women who became government sources in the case involving Marquez. 

Marquez, along with Martha Jimenez Sanchez of Juarez, are accused of luring women from Juarez to El Paso from 2007 to 2012 to work as prostitutes.  Some of the women he hired were reportedly underage.  Marquez and Jimenez Sanchez  were arrested in 2012, and Jimenez Sanchez has pleaded guilty to her role in the scheme.

Agent Miranda interviewed Marquez after his arrest and testified that Miranda alluded that he had an escort service, but didn't call it that.  He said the women that worked for her were solely paid for their companionship, and said his business did not pay women for sex.  Miranda said Marquez told him that it was up to the client to pay more.

Miranda testified that the women "despised" Marquez and said they were afraid of him. 

The second witness was someone that Agent Miranda approached after she was convicted and sentenced of alien smuggling.  For her participation in the investigation, the witness, who was from Juarez, was able to live in the United States legally.  

Miranda asked her to answer an ad in the El Diario newspaper.  On December 15, 2011, Miranda asked the witness to call the phone number in the ad and ask what the job was about. She spoke with Marquez, who identified himself as "Pablo."

A recording of the telephone call was played in court.  In the recording, Marquez explains that he runs an escort service business and asks the women to describe what she looks like.  He repeatedly asks her if she considers herself "attractive."  When the woman inquires how much money she could expect to make, Marquez told her it depended on what services she was willing to offer.  She asked what the job entailed, and he responded by asking her if she was comfortable with nudity because the women that worked for him often performed erotic massages on their clients, and often they were nude while doing so.

The woman told Marquez that she had a Visa, but didn't have a social security number.

Marquez insisted the woman meet him that day because he was considering hiring other women and needed to make a decision. 

The woman told Marquez she was 28 years old and he said he liked that she was older and more mature because many of his employees were 18-21.

Court was recessed for lunch and resumed at 1:10 p.m.  Stay with KTSM.com for updates.

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