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Man charged with 61 felonies in FaceBook prostitution & pandering case

In November of 2014, members of the Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (RCAHT) contacted two separate minor juveniles that reside in the Coachella Valley. The juveniles, whose identities will not be released, said they were contacted via Facebook by a female who solicited them with behavior consistent with prostitution. In both instances, the suspect misrepresented himself as an escort named “Marlissa Garcia.” Garcia glamorized the escort lifestyle to the victims by sending explicit photographs, photographs of large amounts of cash followed by requests via social media to participate with unlawful acts for money. The students declined Garcia’s offer, and reported the incident.

RCAHT Task Force officers began an extensive investigation by authoring and serving several search warrants related to Facebook and various internet service providers. Through these efforts, task force officers uncovered more than 100 similar prostitution pandering attempts, spanning over a two-year period. Task force officers determined that the suspect in this case targeted mostly youthful looking or underage Hispanic females residing not only in Riverside County, but across Southern California. In total, task force officers have identified approximately 120 females to date who were contacted by the “Marlissa Garcia Facebook” page under similar circumstances.Actual Facebook Image

Further investigation by the task force led to a residential search warrant being served on March 17, 2015, in the 1300 block of Cinnabar Avenue in the city of Hemet. At that location, numerous items of electronic evidence related to the investigation was located and seized.

Arrested later that day at his place of employment was Eliberto Cruz Jacobo, 44, the homeowner of the Cinnabar residence. Jacobo is alleged to have created a fictitious Facebook account under the name Marlissa Garcia. Posing as Marlissa Garcia, Jacobo would attempt to gain the trust of young females and persuade them to engage in acts of prostitution. Through this criminal act, Jacobo was able to convince nearly 17 different victims to engage in unlawful sexual acts with him and at least four of these victims were juveniles at the time of the offense.Eliberto Cruz Jacobo

Eliberto Cruz Jacobo

Eliberto Jacobo was arrested and booked into the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta on March 17, 2015. The Riverside County Human Task Force is working closely with the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office concerning this case. The DA’s Office has charged Eliberto Jacobo in two separate cases with 61 felonies and one misdemeanor count, including human trafficking, lewd and lascivious acts with a child, unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, sending harmful matter to seduce minors, communication with a minor to commit a sexual offense, and use of a minor for the production of obscene matter. At two preliminary hearings, a judge found enough evidence for Jacobo to stand trial on all counts. He has a trial readiness conference scheduled for both cases on Dec. 21, 2015. If convicted as currently charged, Jacobo faces the potential of lifetime incarceration. Jacobo remains jailed at the Larson Justice Center in Indio with bail set at $1 million.

Although some of these females have been positively identified and contacted by law enforcement through this investigation, many other potential victims remain unidentified or are known to law enforcement only through their Facebook profiles, many of which are no longer active. The RCAHT Task Force believes there may be additional victims who have yet to come forward. Anyone with additional information about this incident is asked to contact Deputy Daniel Engels of the Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force. Deputy Engels can be reached at (951) 955-1700 or via email at dengels@riversidesheriff.org.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department would like to remind parents to closely monitor the internet activities of their children and talk to them about the dangers posed by online predators. For additional safety tips and resource materials, parents can visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website athttp://www.consumer.ftc.gov/topics/kids-online-safety.

The Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force was formed in 2010 to address crimes involving the exploitation of victims via force, fraud, or coercion. These cases often involve the commercial sex trafficking of children, as well as incidents of forced labor, indentured servitude, debt bondage, or slavery. The RCAHT Task Force is a multidisciplinary task force which combines the investigative resources of both local and federal law enforcement. The RCAHT Task Force also provides victim services and education/outreach through partnerships with the non-profit groups Operation SafeHouse and Million Kids.  The law enforcement component of RCAHT is currently composed of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, Hemet Police Department, Riverside Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service.

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