A Virginia truck driver named David Romero Reyes is under arrest and has been charged with the transportation of a minor with intent to engage in sexual activity
Following our investigation with @RIStatePolice, Va. truck driver David Romero Reyes has been charged with transporting a minor to engage in sex. The missing teen was found in his sleeping compartment as he attempted to enter Naval Station Newport in RI. https://t.co/yWBuBHp0ha
— FBI Boston (@FBIBoston) April 19, 2021
The now 15-year-old girl, who had been reported missing last July, was found in the sleeping compartment of Reyes’ tractor-trailer when he attempted to enter Naval Station Newport in Rhode Island:
Virginia truck driver ordered detained in federal custody in Rhode Island, charged with transporting a minor to engage in sex who was reported missing and located in his sleeper truck compartment as he attempted to enter #NavalStationNewport https://t.co/bhHs8n3Z0q
— US Attorney RI (@USAO_RI) April 19, 2021
According to the FBI, the girl, who entered the U.S. as an unaccompanied minor from El Salvador in 2020, was released from HHS custody to Reyes who is a “long-time friend of the girl’s father who lives in El Salvador and a distant cousin of the girl”:
The girl entered the United States as an unaccompanied minor in February 2020. She was detained by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and placed in a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) facility. HHS documents found in the truck indicate that in May 2020 she was removed from a Houston, Texas, HHS-funded facility by Reyes, who, according to HHS documents, identified himself as the girl’s distant relative. An FBI and Rhode Island State Police investigation determined that Reyes is a long-time friend of the girl’s father who lives in El Salvador and a distant cousin of the girl.
Reyes had been reported to law enforcement by the family prior to his arrest over his alleged sexual relationship with the girl who was 14 at the time:
According to court documents, the girl resided in the Houston, TX, area with her mother and other relatives for several weeks after leaving the immigration detention center. The young teenager eventually left Texas with Reyes and began living in Virginia with a relative of Reyes. Shortly after moving to Virginia, when it became known by a family member that Reyes and the girl allegedly had a sexual relationship, the family member reported Reyes to law enforcement. Shortly thereafter, in July 2020, the girl left the home on a bicycle and was picked up nearby by Reyes. She was reported missing and had not been seen since. According to court documents, during the week the two travelled together in trucks driven by Reyes. On weekends they stayed at hotels or at an apartment rented by Reyes.