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5 people arrested in Missouri for alleged trafficking of teenagers

Five men were arrested Monday in Missouri while trafficking a 14-year-old girl from Indiana to California.

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Five men were arrested Monday in Missouri for allegedly trafficking a 14-year-old girl from Indiana to California.

The men were charged with endangering the welfare of a child in Macon County Circuit Court, Macon County Prosecutor Joshua Meisner said.

“The investigation is ongoing, so these accusations could change,” he said. “Several law enforcement agencies are also involved, including the FBI. It's too early for me to know how this will all play out, but for now, this is what they are being accused of in our county.

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Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers were notified around 2 a.m. Monday of a 14-year-old girl who had run away from Cass County, Indiana, after the girl's father seen leaving in a black SUV, according to court documents. The man contacted local police and reported her missing.

Law enforcement tracked the girl's phone and stopped a black Dodge Durango in Macon County, Missouri. An officer searched the vehicle and found the girl, who identified herself as the missing teen. The girl was taken out of the vehicle and the people on board were taken into custody.

The five men, who were in the country illegally, allegedly trafficked the girl from Indiana to California, the officer wrote in court documents.

The five men charged are:

  • Daniel Ruiz-Lopez, 19, from Honduras

  • Noe Guzman-Hernandez, 24, from Mexico

  • Carlos Funez, 56, from Honduras

  • Arturo Eustaquio, 41, from Mexico

  • Marlon Aguilar, 44, from Honduras

Court records do not list the men's attorneys. All five have bond hearings scheduled for Friday.

Nathan Pilling is a breaking news reporter for the Kansas City Star. He previously worked in newsrooms in Washington state and Ohio and grew up in eastern Iowa.

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