ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) -The lead investigator with the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office, who helped uncover a multi-state sex trafficking ring is speaking out about the case. Had it not been for a health care worker who knew what signs to look for, this case may have never even started.
It started in September 2019, when investigators said a 19-year-old Santa Fe woman met a man in Texas through a dating app. Investigators said on the day they met in person, 35-year-old Alfonso Orozco Juarez from Dallas kidnapped the victim at gunpoint, forcing her into slavery, and threatened to kill her and her family.
“Alfonso Juarez not only used his pistol to strike the victim in the face but would brag about it and remind the victim that he did it to her in multiple text messages after it as a way to coerce and keep the victim in line,” said Kyle Hartsock with the DA’s office.
Hartsock said started working on this case after getting a call from a local clinician. “I got a referral from a behavioral health clinician here in Albuquerque who is helping a patient who believed she was part of a sex trafficking group,” said Hartsock.
Hartsock said a four-month investigation revealed the clinician’s fears were true. “He posted an advertisement for her online to sell her,” said Hartsock.
Hartsock said Juarez agreed to sell the victim to a man who went by the user name “The Darkest Lord.” He was later identified as 66-year-old Robert Hubert, from South Carolina.
“He agreed to pay $5,000 in cash and drive from South Carolina all the way to Dallas Texas, paid for her in cash and drove her back to South Carolina,” said Hartsock.
Investigators said the victim endured horrific abuse while in Hubert’s home. However, eventually was allowed to call her parents who negotiated her release. The victim returned to New Mexico and met the clinician who alerted Hartsock.
“The health care worker that reached out did the right thing and without her knowing what to look for and what to do this likely isn’t a case,” said Hartsock.
Hartsock then worked with law enforcement in Texas and South Carolina ultimately leading to the arrest of both men. “These two individuals would still be at home victimizing other people,” said Hartsock.
Both Juarez and Hubert are now in federal custody. Both face up to life in federal prison if convicted of the sex trafficking charges. Investigators said there are most likely more victims that will be revealed in this case but they didn’t disclose how many or where they were from.