(SAN DIEGO, CA) — The North County Human Trafficking Task Force arrested a married couple Thursday and charged them with 13 felony counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child under 14 years old. Inez Martinez Garcia, 43 years old and her husband Marcial Garcia Hernandez, 45 years old were arrested by members of the Task Force from the Sheriff’s Vista COPPS Unit, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Oceanside Police Department when they left their residence in Oceanside.
Their arrest is the culmination of a two and and a half year “cold case” human trafficking investigation. The investigation was initiated when the victim, now an adult came forward with allegations of forced labor, and physical and sexual abuse by the Garcia’s.
The investigation revealed that the victim was smuggled into the United States at the age of 12 with promises of a better life and education. When the victim arrived at the Garcia household, she was forced to care for the couple’s three young children, cook, and clean house under the constant threat of physical abuse. Over a twenty-one month period, the victim was forced to have sex with the husband. When the victim refused to participate in the sex acts or did not complete her tasks in a timely or correct manner, she was beaten.
At one point, the victim was forced to lie about her age when the Garcia’s found work for her at a local restaurant. When the victim received her wages, Inez Garcia would take the money and keep it for herself. As time went on, the victim was forced into having sex with other older men by the couple for monetary purposes.
Eventually, the victim was severely beaten by Inez Garcia and the police were called. The victim was placed into protective custody and subsequently reunited with her family in Mexico. The case was suspended when the victim was not available because she was in Mexico. The case was reopened by Sheriff’s Vista deputies when the victim returned to the United States and came forward with her story. Both suspects were transported and booked into the Vista Detention Facility for their various charges.