Police Suspect Man Imported 'Sex Slave'

ByABC News

Sept. 21, 2005 — -- Police in suburban New York suspect a man kept a 22-year-old illegal immigrant as a sex slave for a year, and then kidnapped her when she escaped — only to be foiled by police tracking a cell phone signal.

Rafael Garcia, 32, of Greenwich, Conn., and an alleged accomplice are accused of rape and kidnapping, and the charges could mount as investigators dig deeper into what they believe is a case of human trafficking.

"She was in fear for her life," Chief Joseph Krzeninski of the Port Chester, N.Y., police, told WABC-TV in New York. "She had been told many times by Rafael that if she left him that harm would be done to her sister in Guatemala, or once she got to the United States that her mother would be harmed."

According to investigators, Garcia paid $5,000 to smuggle the woman into the country last year from her home in Guatemala. Authorities believe Garcia saw a photograph of the victim before he paid the money.

"He believed he was paying basically to have her be his sex slave," Westchester County District Attorney Jeanine Pirro told The Associated Press.

Authorities claim Garcia and a friend, Manuel de Jesus Cruz, 31, kidnapped the woman as she was leaving her job Sunday at a restaurant in Port Chester. Police found the three Monday at a hotel near Scranton, Pa., and believe they were headed for Virginia.

Garcia is accused of raping the woman during the trip to Pennsylvania.

The kidnapping allegedly was foiled after the woman persuaded her captors to allow her to call her mother in Guatemala, and police tracked the call.

Pirro told WABC-TV that police used a technique "based on something called a 'ping,' where you literally ping a cell phone using an electronic signal that then reflects the location of where that cell phone is."

ABC News' Lucy Yang originally reported this story for WABC-TV in New York.

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