Man Accused of Prostituting Missing California Girls in Elmwood Park Arrested

Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli announced today the arrest of Bogart Velasco, 53, of Fresno, California, for recruiting and employing two juvenile females to work as prostitutes in an on-going illicit prostitution operation that conducted business in and around the northern New Jersey area.

At approximately 9:09 p.m. on Wednesday, the Elmwood Park Police Department received a telephone call from a woman from Fresno, California, reporting that her niece and another juvenile girl (13 and 15 years of age) - reported missing in Fresno on Sunday - were at a hotel in Elmwood Park, according to social media postings.

Upon checking the local hotels, Elmwood Park police officers located the two teenage girls at the Town House Inn & Suites, 50 Route 46 East, Elmwood Park and taken into custody.

Interviews and further investigation revealed that the girls were in the company of Velasco when they left Fresno, California and drove to New Jersey to make money through prostitution.

The investigation to this point has shown that arrangements and opportunities for prostitution in New Jersey were promoted by Velasco and the victims were utilized in a human trafficking scheme.

It was also determined that Velasco had sexual relations with both victims at different times while in the State of New Jersey. Both victims are currently in the care and custody of the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P).

Velasco was arrested and charged with two counts of 1st degree human trafficking, two counts of 2nd degree human trafficking, two counts of sexual assault, a crime of the 2nd degree, two counts of promoting a juvenile in prostitution, a crime of the 2nd degree, two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, a crime of the 2nd degree, and two counts of criminal sexual contact, a crime of the 3rd degree.

The investigation is continuing and investigators are attempting to identify any other victims or employees of this illegal prostitution operation.

., Elmwood Park, NJ