By Deanna Boyd
FORT WORTH -- A man and woman were in jail Monday, accused of using the Internet to recruit a 17-year-old Houston woman to come to Fort Worth and of forcing her into prostitution.
Nyokolus Hunter, 26, and Gabriel M. Walker, 19, both of Fort Worth, were arrested Friday on felony warrants alleging trafficking of a person under age 18.
Orlando Dion Verge, 26, was also arrested Friday and accused of online solicitation of a minor in connection with the case. Online solicitation is also a felony.
"It's very important for parents to monitor the internet activities of their children," Sgt. Pedro Criado, a police spokesman, emphasized Monday during a news conference about the arrests. "That's one form that these predators utilize in order to sex traffic these individuals."
According to a Fort Worth police report, officers were called Feb. 21 to the South Loop Inn at 6328 South Freeway on a report that a 17-year-old woman was being forced to participate in prostitution against her will.
Sgt. Deven Pitt said the victim had made an outcry to a civilian, who called 911.
Officers found the 17-year-old, but the suspects had left the motel by the time police arrived, Pitt said. The teen has been moved to a "safe place," he said.
Pitt said investigators believe that Verge served as the "broker," recruiting the teen to come to Fort Worth from Houston after making contact with her on the social network site Mocospace.
"Some arrangements were made for her to work off rent and things of that nature," Pitt said.
Once she was in Fort Worth, Hunter and Walker are accused of holding the teen against her will and prostituting her out, Pitt said. He said investigators believe that the teen was with Hunter and Walker about two weeks before her rescue last week.
Other victims are possible, police said.
As part of the investigation, detectives set up a phony profile on Mocospace, posing as a 16-year-old San Antonio girl. Through an exchange of text messages, police say, Verge planned to pick up the 16-year-old teen at a Fort Worth bus station "with an agreement of sexual favors and prostitution."
But the teen arriving on the bus Friday was actually an undercover officer, police said. Verge was arrested by other officers after making contact with the undercover officer, police said.
John Chakwin Jr., special agent in charge with Homeland Security investigations in Dallas, said the case is being presented to the U.S. attorney's office for possible federal charges against the three suspects.
Pitt said many human trafficking cases involve victims who were recruited online.
"They give them false hope. They make all these outlandish promises," Pitt said. "Young teenage girls like that; they want the world and if you promise them the world, they'll do almost anything to get it. Then once they get here and find out that they were only promises and the promises won't be delivered, a lot of times that's when they cry out for help."
Hunter and Walker were being held in the Mansfield Jail with bail set at $200,000 on the trafficking warrants.
Verge was being held with bail set at $100,000 on the solicitation warrant, plus $800,000 on a theft warrant from Harris County, Mansfield Jail records say.
According to Tarrant County court records, Hunter has convictions for burglary of a vehicle and possession of marijuana, both misdemeanors. A warrant was issued for his arrest in September after he failed to pay fees associated with the marijuana case, records say.
Walker was sentenced to six months of deferred-adjudication probation in May in a prostitution case, Tarrant County records say. A motion to revoke her probation was filed Oct. 18 and a warrant issued for her arrest, according to court records.
She was also sentenced to deferred-adjudication probation in Parker County in a prostitution case. A motion to revoke her probation in that case was filed in November and a warrant issued for her arrest, according to Parker County court records.
Verge has a conviction for burglary of a vehicle, Tarrant County records say.
Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/02/28/2884606/3-arrested-in-human-trafficking.html#ixzz1FTaL5fNR