Eliberto Cruz Jacobo
HEMET – During a yearlong investigation, authorities uncovered a Facebook page that was utilized for more than 100 prostitution pandering attempts primarily to under-aged girls, leading to the arrest of Elberto Cruz Jacobo. They are hoping any other victims will now come forward.
The Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (RCAHT) began an investigation into a possible prostitution ring in November 2014 after being contacted by two separate Coachella Valley juveniles. The girls reported that they had been contacted through Facebook by a female who solicited them to engage in prostitution.
In both these instances, the girls reported to have been contacted by an escort named “Marlissa Garcia.” According to a Riverside Sheriff’s Press Release, “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.”
RCAHT Task Force officers served several search warrants related to Facebook and various internet service providers. These searches revealed 100 similar prostitution pandering attempts across Southern California, spanning a two-year period. In total, task force officers are reported to have identified approximately 120 females who were contacted by the “Marlissa Garcia Facebook” page under similar circumstances.
Believing that Marlissa Garcia was actually an alias for Eliberto Cruz Jacobo, officers served a warrant and searched his home on in the 1300 block of Cinnabar Avenue in Hemet on Tuesday, March 17. At that location, numerous items of electronic evidence related to the investigation was located and seized.
Allegedly 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.
Jacobo, 44, was arrested that same day at his place of employment. The DA’s Office has charged 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.
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.
RCAHT is currently seeking potential victims who remain unidentified or are known to law enforcement only through their Facebook profiles, many of which are no longer active. 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 email@example.com.