Threats, intimidation and physical force are just some of the tactics a Las Cruces couple is accused of using on two Indonesian women they allegedly held as slaves.
Federal agents arrested and charged Elina Sihombing, 47, and her husband David Girle, 54, with human trafficking.
Sihombing and Girle are the owners of America?s Best Value Inn on Picacho Avenue. Their business is also where they allegedly enslaved the two women. The defendants are now out on bail but are not saying a word.
ABC-7 approached Girle at the motel and asked if he was one of the owners.
?Yes, I am the owner. There?s no comment,? Girle said, and then walked back inside.
Girle is keeping quiet, just as he and Sihombing allegedly have for years. According to the complaint affidavit, inside the motel two Indonesian women allegedly worked up to 18 hours a day without every being paid.
The document states the women did everything from housekeeping, laundry, landscaping? and even babysat the couple?s children.
According to the affidavit, the women?s only compensation came from tips. They saved enough from 2007 to 2009 to buy a computer and then left with a motel employee. But when they returned and Sihombing found out, the affidavit states, she got mad and punished them by depriving them of food for a week.
?I was shocked, I don't understand how something like that could happen in this area,? a nearby resident said. ?Next door looks pretty uptown, on the outside looks very nice, so you would never guess something like that would go on behind closed doors."
Then in January 2010, after the women allegedly went against orders to stay at the motel and left with another employee, they came back. According to the affidavit, when they returned after a two-week period, Sihombing slapped one of the women so hard across her face she was bleeding.
"It is kind of surprising,? another nearby resident said. ?Yeah, I saw people working there, working up to 12:00 at night, two girls. One of them is kind of chubby, the other kind of skinny, working up to 12:00 at night.?
The affidavit also states a former motel resident eventually helped the women escape a final time. ABC-7 contacted that person over the phone but was told she had nothing further to say.
According to the document, a third party reported the case after seeing a human trafficking billboard.
Repeated calls to the Sihombing and Girle?s attorney were never returned.
Every attempt to reach someone at the U.S. Attorney?s Office was unsuccessful.