BRADENTON, Fla. - A registered sex offender in Bradenton has been arrested after deputies say a 24-year-old woman showed up to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office to report that she was being held against her will in a storage unit and forced to prostitute herself.
Deputies arrested 41-year-old Juan Cruz Jr. for human trafficking on November 16 after the investigation revealed that he set up several sexual encounters with male clients through "BackPage" after providing large amounts of heroin and crack to not only the 24-year-old victim but also a 29-year-old victim for several weeks.
According to the arrest warrant, Cruz told both victims "you have a job to do. Now you owe me," referring to the free drugs.
The investigation also revealed that Cruz collected money from the clients and instead of giving it to the victims he would use it to purchase drugs.
After some time, Cruz forced the two victims to move into his storage unit with him on the 3100 block of 3rd St. W in Bradenton.
The 24-year-old victim told deputies that while living in the storage unit she was forced to have sex with Cruz and was not allowed to tell him "no." She also told them that Cruz would leave them locked up in the storage unit for long periods of time. Because the unit didn't have a toilet or shower she and the other victim were forced to use a cup to urinate.
Both victims told deputies they never fled from Cruz, despite having opportunities to, because they were in fear of their lives. They said Cruz carried guns and would get verbally abusive when they did things he did not like, such as talking to people he did not want them talking to, according to the arrest affidavit.
The investigation, with assistance from the FDLE, continues with additional charges pending.