NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – A North Myrtle Beach man was arrested Monday on allegations that he physically and sexually assaulted a woman he brought into the country last September.
Raul Gilberto Arvizu-Huerta was arrested and charged with first-degree assault and battery, first-degree criminal sexual conduct and kidnapping, according to information on the Horry County Sheriff's Office's website. He remained in jail Tuesday under no bond.
According to the arrest report, the suspect brought the alleged victim into the country in September 2015 and had her live in a back room of the La Raza De La Paz store he operated.
The woman alleged that two weeks after she arrived, the suspect began to violently assault her physically and sexually on a regular basis, the report stated. This abuse reportedly included performing lewd and lascivious acts with others that were not consensual.
According to the report, the suspect would allegedly beat the woman with his belt if she didn't do what she was told. Arvizu-Huerta also reportedly strictly controlled who the alleged victim spoke with or came into contact with, and would not let her leave the store without him.
Arvizu-Huerta also reportedly kept the woman's visa and passport in his possession, and allowed the visa to expire while she was here.
The woman alleged the physical and sexual abuse took place over seven months. Friends and neighbors of Arvizu-Huerta were surprised no one found out.
"It seems like he does a thriving business, and with all those people coming and going," said one nearby store owner. "I don't understand how someone could be held captive there and people not notice something."
Search and arrest warrants were issued for the suspect on Monday. Several items, such as cellphones, an iPod and multiple laptops, were taken, according to the report.
The report also states that the wife of the pastor at local church, Iglesia de Dios Puente de Salvacion, helped let police know what was going on. Soto, who has been working to build a bridge between the Hispanic community and North Myrtle Beach Police, said she simply acted as a translator.
"It was very fast," said Soto. "As soon as I said the first word to the cops that she needed help, that she just wanted to get away from where she was at, they just took over. They just left with her, said thank you, and that was it."