SAN DIEGO, May 21 (UPI) —
A Southern California couple are headed to prison after pleading guilty to keeping a young niece in the United States illegally as a sex slave.
Inez Martinez Garcia, 44, was sentenced Monday to a 20-year prison term. Her husband, Marcial Garcia Hernandez, 45, was given a 23-years-to-life sentence. Both pleaded guilty to multiple counts of abuse.
Prosecutors said the couple coerced a relative in Mexico to send their niece to the United States illegally to live with them at their Oceanside home. The couple promised they would look after the girl, then 12, and make sure she went to school.
Instead, they forced the girl to have sex with Hernandez and other men for money, the Los Angeles Times reported. When she wasn’t being sexually assaulted, they forced her to cook, clean and care for their own three children, prosecutors said. She was held captive for 18 months.
When the girl refused she was beaten and forced to eat hot peppers.
The girl returned to Mexico after police freed her but returned to San Diego County to assist in the prosecution.