Rogers Police said they arrested a man for allegedly smuggling and raping a child from the Southern border. Reports said this man booked the said girl.
According to a probable cause document that Arkansas Democrat-Gazette obtained, Rogers police received a piece of information that Hector Figueroa-Vasquez, 36, kidnapped a 16-year-old girl. He then reportedly kept her on his property for many weeks. Figueroa-Vasquez allegedly sexually assaulted the child on three different evenings, according to the teenager.
Man “Rapes” Girl After Arranging to Have Her Smuggled Into Country
Somebody alerted Rogers police about the whereabouts of the suspect and the victim. They found them at a house on North Second Street. A man named “Melvin” physically and sexually assaulted the girl. Reports added that the man would release her if she paid him $4,000.
Police interviewed Figueroa-Vasquez and another individual at the residence. According to the affidavit, both denied knowing Melvin or the girl. Police asked the teenager, and she rejected the accusations. Because she was an unaccompanied minor, the Arkansas Department of Human Services took her into care.
Police received a complaint from the Arkansas Child Abuse Hotline that the adolescent and another female had been brought into the country illegally and were being sold for sex.
Officers questioned the girl at the Child Safety Center in Springdale, the affidavit shows. She recounted Melvin abusing her on three occasions. According to the affidavit, she said he raped her and told her it was in return for bringing her to the city.
Child Smuggling Common In Some States, Officials Said
The affidavit showed that Melvin hired someone to smuggle her into the country, claiming her father to get her out of immigration detention. They then took her to Arkansas.
Figueroa-Vasquez faces three counts of rape. He is also now detained on a $100,000 bail at the Benton County Jail. But he denied raping the child.
Kevin Metcalf founded the National Child Protection Task Force. Even in places like Northwest Arkansas, he added, this scenario is quite frequent. People who suspect child abuse in their neighborhood should notify police, Metcalf told KWNA.