ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. – A Thornton man faces human trafficking and sexual assault charges after he allegedly bought a 15-year-old girl from her father and had sex with her repeatedly over a three-month period.
Erik Castillo, 43, is charged with human trafficking of a minor for sexual servitude, sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust, sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust with a pattern of abuse, and sexual assault with a 10-year age difference. The first three charges are felonies, but the latter is a misdemeanor.
According to Adams County court documents, the young girl’s brother tipped off the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in July that his sister may have been sold to another man by their father.
The brother suspected the girl was taken to either the Phoenix or Denver areas, according to the documents.
Agents started investigating and eventually found the man who allegedly bought the girl was Castillo.
A Colorado State Patrol trooper and Adams County detective went to Castillo’s trailer in Thornton, and at one point discovered the teenage girl inside the house.
The officers took the girl into protective custody and arrested Castillo on an outstanding warrant, according to a police report.
Adams County social workers and an FBI victim specialist interviewed the girl at the Innocence Lost Task Force Office, where she told them she had met Castillo over Facebook and that her father had told her to call Castillo “uncle.”
The two allegedly exchanged photographs online, though none were nude and Castillo used photos of a different man, the report says.
She also told the workers Castillo had sent her father, who lives in Mexico, money on several occasions and helped pay for her bus ticket from Las Cruces, New Mexico to the Denver area.
She brought with her a letter written by her father saying she was allowed to stay with Castillo in the U.S. and her birth certificate.
Once the girl got to Denver, Castillo took her birth certificate after he brought her to his house, where he told her “he liked her and wanted…her to be his ‘partner,’” according to the police report.
The girl told the social workers Castillo would have sex with her “multiple times” a day over the course of three months before Castillo was arrested Sept. 1. Since he had her birth certificate, police say he knew she was only 15.
At some point, the girl became pregnant, though it is not explicitly stated in any police reports or court documents that Castillo impregnated her.
The documents say that though the girl was not held against her will, she never left the house aside from an occasional market visit with Castillo.
Castillo is being held in the Adams County jail on a $100,000 cash or surety bond. He is set to appear in court Thursday for his preliminary hearing on the charges.
Though this sting was not part of the roundup, an FBI task force announced Tuesday the arrest of 11 pimps and the rescue of nine underage child victims in a child human trafficking operation in Colorado and Wyoming.