REDWOOD CITY -- A couple face human trafficking charges after allegedly depriving four prostitutes of food and providing illegal drugs that propelled them during all-night work, authorities said Tuesday.

Sate Jones and his girlfriend Maria Jimenez, both 25, were due in San Mateo County Superior Court Tuesday on the felony charges that alleged they forced the three women and a 17-year-old girl in prostitution at a South San Francisco hotel, said District attorney Steve Wagstaffe. They were being held in San Mateo County jail as a third suspect was being sought.

A tip from an observant hotel clerk led police to arrest Jones, a Pacifica resident, and Jimenez of San Francisco Saturday at an unspecified hotel on Airport Boulevard. The clerk thought it suspicious that man dropped off four young women, two days in a row, and then drove off after they rented two separate rooms.

The clerk called police and they interviewed the four young women. During questioning with police they revealed they had been recruited by three suspects to have sex with customer for money.

The women went on to tell authorities "they were repeatedly given illegal narcotics in order to keep them working all night," South San Francisco police said. The prostitutes had also been periodically been deprived of food, they said.


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Police said they found evidence that backed up the prostitutes' claims, but didn't specify. Authorities also said they know the name of the third suspect and were looking for him.

Contact Joshua Melvin at 650-348-4335. Follow him at Twitter.com/melvinreport.