'Too dumb to be pimps': 2 arrested after SAPD saves trafficking victim

Man, woman taken into custody on trafficking charges; police seek third suspect

Courtesy: Bexar County Jail

SAN ANTONIO – Two people were arrested and a third person is being sought after police said the trio was involved in the trafficking of a 14-year-old girl at a downtown San Antonio hotel.

Police took Eric Allen McConal, 35, and Vanessa Nicole Arriaga, 30, into custody Thursday morning on felony offenses. The third suspect, a 38-year-old man, has not yet been located and remains on the run.

On Oct. 1, officers with San Antonio Police Department's Bike Patrol Unit went to the Marriot Hotel in the 400 block of Bonham Street for a report of drugs and a firearm in a hotel room.

Hotel staff told responding officers that McConal had asked them to check on his room to make sure no one was in it and to check on his belongings.

When the officers went to his hotel room, staff members found the girl and Arriaga inside along with an assault rifle, needles and drugs, according to an arrest affidavit.

The girl and Arriaga, who police said appeared to be under the influence, had claimed to be relatives from Odessa, Texas.

After determining that the rifle had not been stolen, police released Arriaga on a misdemeanor charge, and the girl was taken to Public Safety Headquarters for further questioning. 

The girl later admitted that Arriaga and the third suspect had taken her to San Antonio, where they had later met up with McConal.

When asked if she had any dates and if McConal and the man were pimps, she said, "I ain't no prostitute" (and) they are "too dumb to be pimps," according to an arrest affidavit.

The girl said that her parents knew she was in San Antonio with her alleged guardian, Arriaga, but police determined she was a runaway. 

Days later, in another interview, the girl told police about meeting Arriaga at a "trap house," which is a reference to a place for selling and using illegal drugs, and later being introduced to the third suspect, according to the affidavit.

The girl said she was groomed by Arriaga and the man on what to wear and how to appear in order to be presentable "to party in San Antonio," according to the affidavit.

McConal, who police said was initially uncooperative, later told police why the girl was in San Antonio.

McConal identified the third suspect as his friend and a pimp who had brought the girl and Arriaga so they could "party," the affidavit said. 

McConal said he rented hotel rooms and cars to "harbor and transport (the girl) and (Arriaga) in Odessa and San Antonio" and for prostitution," according to the affidavit.

A detective said police obtained access to the third suspect's social media pages, which show him referencing the girl to make money. 

Police said the suspect's social media posts were made a day before he, Arriaga and the girl arrived in San Antonio, and were going to meet up with McConal.
The case led to McConal facing a charge of attempted trafficking of a minor under 18 years old. Because police said he has been convicted of a crime in the past and confessed to having the assault rifle, McConal is facing an additional charge of felon in possession of a firearm.

He is still in custody at the Bexar County Jail and his bond has been remanded.

Arriaga is facing charges of trafficking a person under 18 years old and harboring a runaway. Her bail has been set at $42,000.

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