Man accused of running state-wide prostitution ring from Texas prison
Updated 9:23 pm, Thursday, November 9, 2017
A Texas prison inmate is facing new charges in connection with a state-wide prostitution ring he allegedly operated from inside his cell, according to the attorney general's office.
The suspected inmate, 28-year-old Martin Eddie Herrera, now faces charges of aggravated promotion of prostitution and compelling a child to prostitution.
Two other suspects allegedly involved in the prostitution ring, Geneieve Aguirre and Bernard Blanchard, were arrested in December 2016 on similar charges. They have since bonded out of jail.
According to Herrera's arrest affidavit, he was the leader of a prostitution ring that operated across Texas, including cities like San Antonio, Houston, Corpus Christi and Dallas. He was able to to do, despite his incarceration, with the assistance of secret cell phones stashed in his cell.
He was allegedly able to recruit two girls, aged 17 and 18, through Facebook.
"Who wants to make some money?" he allegedly posted. When the victims responded, he directed them to Blanchard, who was located at a home at 10 Moonwalk Crest on the Northwest Side, authorities said.
The home allegedly operated as a brothel, where the two victims would have sex for money. Blanchard would also drive the women from the home to various locations across the state to meet with clients, officials said.
According to the affidavit, the girls got to keep half of their earnings, while the other half went to Geneieve Aguirre.
Herrera was able to communicate with the girls through text messages and phone calls until his phones were confiscated. At that time, Aguirre allegedly took over the prostitution ring, authorities said.
The 17-year-old trafficking victim was later arrested and booked into the Bexar County Jail. On Sept. 2, 2016, a Bexar County deputy contacted officials with the attorney general's office about the suspected prostitution ring.
About two weeks later, state officials met with Blanchard, who allegedly told them the girls posted ads on Backpage.com and had sex for money. He gave them locations of at least one hotel where the girls conducted business, and authorities later discovered receipts that backed up his claims, according to the affidavit.
Blanchard and Aguirre were arrested a few months later, and though an arrest warrant for Herrera was signed by a judge in Nov. 2016, he wasn't jailed on the charges until this week.
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