Crime

Fresno resident in New Jersey used girls as prostitutes, police say

A Fresno resident was arrested in New Jersey after police said he was recruiting and employing two teenage girls to work as prostitutes.

Police in the New Jersey area received a call Wednesday from a woman in Fresno who said her niece and another teenage girl were missing from Fresno.

Based on social media postings, police believed that the girls, 13 and 15, were at a hotel in Elmwood Park, New Jersey.

Police found the girls at the Town House Inn & Suites in Elmwood Park.

Police said Bogart Velasco, 53, drove the girls from Fresno to New Jersey to make money through prostitution.

Velasco was found and arrested in Elmwood Park.

Velasco also had sexual relations with both girls at different times while in New Jersey, police said.

Both girls are currently in the care of the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency.

Tomas Kassahun: 559-441-6659, @TomasKassahun

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