A second suspect has pleaded not guilty to a charge of child sexual assault – a charge arising out of an investigation into suspected child trafficking activity in Hidalgo County. 53-year-old Mariano Israel Vera Vega was arrested last week – becoming the fourth person to be nabbed in the investigation. Vera is accused of raping an underage girl.
Investigators believe the girl was being trafficked for sex out of rural Mission-area bar. The owner of that bar, 61-year-old Rita Martinez Moreno, is charged in the case, as is her son, 36-year-old Genaro Fuentes. The investigation also led to a DPS trooper, 48-year-old Juan Barrientos of Edinburg, who has also been charged with child sexual assault. He and Martinez are scheduled to be arraigned later this month.