SANTA ANA, Calif. (KTLA) -- A man faces sex trafficking charges Monday afternoon in federal court after intending to prostitute three teenage girls, according to authorities.
Samuel Martinez Gonzalez was due in court Monday at 2pm after he had lured the girls from Texas to Orange County with promises of trips to the beach, instead buying them revealing dresses and high-heeled shoes upon their arrival intending to force the girls to work as prostitutes, according to an affidavit.
Gonzalez, 26, was reportedly found with one of the girls, a 15-year-old, on Friday, and subsequently taken into custody. The other two girls, ages 15 and 16, were later found at a local motel where they had been believed to be staying with Gonzalez and two women.
All three girls are in protective custody, and a fourth, who was believed to have been forced to work as a prostitute, is being cared for by family, a statement released by the United States Attorney's Office said.
Gonzalez, of Santa Ana, has been charged with the transportation of minors with the intent of engaging in sexual activity, according to the statement.
Authorities began searching for the man Friday after a relative of one of the minors contacted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the statement said, adding that the relative believed the girl could be in Orange County.
Texas law enforcement officials obtained a cell phone from the mother of one of the girls that helped lead investigators to Gonzalez.
If convicted, Gonzalez could face 10 years to life in federal prison.