EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — On Monday, officials with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Criminal Investigations Division (CID), announced the results of a joint prostitution operation held last week.
Officials say the sting, held in conjunction with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), targeted those seeking to ‘exploit and victimize minors and adults online,’ as well as to identify and arrest persons suspected of human trafficking, using websites to solicit sexual acts from minors and adults.
As a result of the operation, eight suspects are now facing felony charges.
“During the course of the hotel operations, law enforcement officers were also able to witness, intercept and charge two individuals on state human smuggling charges that resulted in the recovery of three undocumented non-citizens. The non-citizens were released to U.S. Border Patrol,” officials shared.
The following individuals were arrested and booked into the El Paso County Jail:
- Jabari Khalid, 28, of El Paso
- Saul Arturo Guardado, 30, of El Paso
- Larry Leyva, 39, of El Paso
- Phillip O. Carter, 34, of El Paso
- Raul Alberto Valadez, 27, of El Paso
- Jorge L. Figueroa, 50, of Las Cruces, New Mexico
- George J. Torres Jr., 26, of Las Cruces, New Mexico
- Camron Ritter, 28, of El Paso
“HB1540 requires all arrested subjects to be charged under the newly enhanced offense of Solicitation of Prostitution, a State Jail Felony unless previously convicted, in which case they are charged with a Third Degree Felony,” officials added.
Multiple agencies assisted in this investigation, with members of multiple divisions of Texas DPS, HSI, El Paso Police Department, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, the Western District of Texas Assistant United States Attorney’s Office, and the Border Prosecution Unit for the District Attorney’s Office for the 34th Judicial District, Texas Anti-Gang.
“This investigation highlights the partnership between local, state and federal law enforcement partners in working together to combat human trafficking. If you are a victim of human trafficking or have information about this type of criminal activity, please contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at (888) 373-7888,” law enforcement officials said.