Snapchat rape suspect arraigned after week of delays

SAN JOSE — After a week of stalling, a San Jose man appeared in court to answer for charges that he tricked a Santa Cruz County girl into smoking PCP, after which he took her to a San Jose motel where he raped her, then planned to force her into sex work.

Albert Tomas Vasquez, 55, of San Jose, has been charged with drugging, raping, and then attempting to force a teen girl into human trafficking, after encountering her in Capitola on Jan. 14, 2020. (San Jose Police Dept.) 

Though his original arraignment date had been set for Jan. 16, until Thursday, 55-year-old Albert Tomas Vasquez had refused to allow Santa Clara County Sheriff’s deputies to escort him to the Hall of Justice so he could have his charges formally read to him, authorities said.

Vasquez was arrested Jan. 14 at the E-Z 8 Motel on North First Street in San Jose, after a friend of the 14-year-old victim alerted police to a post on Snapchat in which the teen said she was in the back of an unknown vehicle and had been sexually assaulted. The friend reportedly used the app’s locator to direct police to where she was.

Vasquez was charged with four felony counts related to drugging, raping, and sexually assaulting the victim, and one felony count of human trafficking. He is being held without bail at the Santa Clara County Main Jail, adjacent to the courthouse that he initially refused to go.

According to a San Jose Police Department report accompanying the criminal charges, Vasquez approached the victim outside of the Whole Foods in Capitola, and asked if she wanted to smoke marijuana with him.

In her statement to investigators, the girl said she agreed, and they then walked behind the grocery store, but that soon after smoking a joint, she realized it contained something other than marijuana, and asked Vasquez, “what the (expletive) did you give me?” She said Vasquez told her it was PCP — an anesthetic typically used as a recreational drug.

The victim told police that she quickly became intoxicated, and her memory started to fade. During that time, she said, Vasquez “made her give him oral sex behind the store.” At some point, they were picked up in a white 2016 Ford Explorer driven by 34-year-old Antonio Quirino Salvador, accompanied by 31-year-old Heiberto Gonzalez Alvarenga, both of Fremont, and all of them eventually traveled to the motel in San Jose.

It was during that time that police say the victim sent a message via Snapchat that she was in trouble.

“Somebody help me, I’m in a random man’s car,” she reportedly posted. “I’m not in Santa Cruz. Where am I?”

During their police interviews, both Quirino Salvador and Alvarenga said they did not know what Vasquez was doing or how he knew the victim, and Alvarenga went as far as to say he was asleep for the entire car ride. The pair were arrested in part because of the victim’s statements claiming they helped Vasquez bring her into a motel room — which was rented with Quirino Salvador’s ID — but neither has been charged. Quirino Salvador remains in jail, however, because he was on probation and had an active misdemeanor warrant involving an unrelated case.

The victim told police that Vasquez raped her at the motel, and “then left the room and told (her) that he was going to try to find other men to come into the room and have sex with her for money.”

What Vasquez did not know was that San Jose police, after being alerted to the Snapchat message, had gone to the motel at the direction of the girl’s friend. Police stated that officers made contact with Vasquez as he exited the second-floor room, telling them that the girl inside the room was his “little cousin.”

Vasquez was soon handcuffed and taken into custody. But as one officer approached the room to find the girl, Vasquez’s pitbull rushed at the officer and bit her thigh, prompting the officer to hit the dog with her baton. The officer was treated on the scene and did not need hospitalization.

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