20 People Arrested in Texas Prostitution Sting With Some Cases Involving Minors
As part of a large prostitution sting in Texas, Kerr County Sherriff's deputies arrested 20 people for trying to solicit sex and drug offenses.
As part of a prostitution sting in Texas, Kerr County Sherriff’s deputies arrested 20 people last week for trying to solicit sex, including some who were allegedly looking for minors.
“You just don’t realize how far down the well can go and how dark it really can get,” KCSO criminal investigator Jonathan Edwards told local news outlet KENS 5. “We’ll all kind of just scratch our heads and think, ‘What led you to do this? How did it get this bad?’”
As part of a collaborative undercover operation led by the several different Texas police divisions including the Texas Department of Public Safety Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism, the buyers were lured in by fake online listings created by law enforcement. Over the course of a few days, 299 people responded to the fake listings. Some of the accused, who have mostly bonded out of prison since their arrests, allegedly sought to purchase underage children for sex.
Edwards added that it doesn’t appear the men were connected, or that there is evidence of a larger ring. “This operation represents a big win for the safety of our community, in Kerr County and the region,” Sheriff Larry Leitha told KENS 5. “Once again, our Criminal Investigation Division led a strong effort with invaluable support from our interagency partners.”
While law enforcement called the arrests a victory, authorities cautioned that they don’t remotely capture the scope of the human trafficking problem in Southern Texas. Edwards said that when investigators placed the phony escort ads online, 299 people in South Texas expressed interest in buying a prostitute over the span of just three days. While many of those people didn’t go far enough to get arrested, their names have been added to a statewide database.
“We’ll be following up with them and, eventually, we’ll meet someday,” Edwards said. “Human smuggling, sex trafficking, and prostitution are crimes that support each other,” said Sheriff Leitha, “and we’re working hard on all fronts to stop them.”