Mission man tied to human trafficking case back in court

Requesting reduction of $350,000 bond

Genaro Fuentes walks back from the bench after being arraigned on charges of aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault of a child in the 332nd state District court at the Hidalgo County Courthouse on Thursday, Aug 8, 2019, in Edinburg. (Joel Martinez | jmartinez@themonitor.com)

EDINBURG — A Mission man accused of raping a minor at a bar owned by his mother in rural Mission is due back in court here in an attempt to get his current bond reduced.

Genaro Fuentes is expected to appear before state District Judge Mario E. Ramirez Jr. on Tuesday for the hearing in which his counsel will argue to lower the current $350,000 bond.

Ramirez set the aforementioned bond on Aug. 8, during the 36-year-old man’s formal arraignment hearing, in which he pleaded not guilty to both charges against him, aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault of a child.

The charges stem from a Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission investigation into Fuentes’ mother’s bar, Rita’s Sports Bar in rural Mission.

Fuentes’ mother, Rita Martinez Moreno, 61, also faces charges related to the investigation, specifically accused in connection with 31 charges — among them trafficking of persons, a possession of a controlled substance and nearly 30 sexual assault charges involving a minor.

During Fuentes’ formal arraignment earlier this month, the lead prosecutor, chief of the Special Victims Division, Hope Palacios said Fuentes and others held a minor at his mother’s bar where he was an employee.

She said the arrest of Fuentes, his mother, and at least two others so far, came as a result of a human trafficking case investigation initiated by TABC. At least two victims were minors at the time of the incidents.

The Monitor does not identify victims of sexual abuse, and the indictment uses a pseudonym for the three victims named in the indictment.

Like his mother, Fuentes, 36, is accused of sexually assaulting a minor, Kenia Garcia, a pseudonym used in the indictment for the victim — once in November 1999 and again in December of the same year.

One of the other men charged, Mariano Israel Vera, was in court Thursday for his formal arraignment.

Vera, 53, of Mission, formally pleaded not guilty to one sexual assault of a minor charge, and was granted a $100,000 bond.

Martinez and another man, Juan Angel Barrientos, 48, of Edinburg, also face sexual assault of a minor charges.

Barrientos, a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper, was arraigned, booked and released on a $60,000 personal recognizance bond in connection with three counts of sexual assault of a child related to TABC’s investigation.

The DPS trooper is accused of several instances of sexual assault of a child in 2001, and twice in 2002, according to the two-page unsealed indictment against him.

“(Barrientos), on the first day of December 2001, did then and there intentionally and knowingly cause the penetration of the sexual organ of Kenia Garcia, a pseudonym, a child who was then and there younger than 17 years of age,” the record stated.

He’s accused of then sexually assaulting Kenia Garcia on two subsequent occasions — on or about Jan. 1 and Feb. 1, 2002.

He and Martinez are scheduled for formal arraignment before Judge Israel Ramon of the 430th state District Court on Aug. 28.