Ruidoso Police Officer accused of soliciting decoy agent through ‘Whisper’ app

Crime

RUIDOSO, NM (KTSM) — A Ruidoso Police Officer found himself in handcuffs after a Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) revealed he was allegedly attempting to solicit a teenage girl online.

Daniel Balding, 35, of Ruidoso, is charged with one count of Child Solicitation by Electronic Communication Device.

According to court documents, the Ruidoso Police Officer began communicating with a decoy HSI Agent located in St. Louis on September 12, 2019. The decoy agent initially posted “guys with uniforms rock” on the ‘Whisper’ app. A man who identified himself as Balding reportedly responded to the post with “male cop here.”

HSI Agents say the decoy presented themselves as a 15-year-old girl during the text exchange. Balding allegedly began texting the decoy sexually explicit conversations and sent photos. Court documents even indicate Balding asked the girl he believed to be 15, to ask a friend to join in a threesome.

New Mexico State Police was notified by Homeland Security Agents who obtained an arrest warrant for Balding. He was taken into custody in Lincoln County and has since been released on his own recognizance by District Judge Daniel A. Bryant.

According to the Alamogordo Daily News, Balding has been placed on administrative leave pending an internal affairs investigation. NMSP say their investigation is ongoing.

‘Whisper’ is an app that allows users to post and share photos and video messages anonymously. Users are issued a random nickname upon joining. The app has come under scrutiny in the past after a teenager posted a threat against her high school, but was eventually tracked down. Other incidents of child sexual solicitation and assault have also been reported.

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