Lake Worth, TX

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Lake Worth is a city of under 5,000 residents in Tarrant County, Texas. The city is adjacent to the lake it is named after, a popular recreational lake in the northwestern portion of Tarrant County. Lake Worth is located roughly 8 miles northwest of Fort Worth and 40 miles west of Dallas. Child sex trafficking has been documented in the city, resulting in complaints to law enforcement. For example, in June 2021, a man was arrested for sex trafficking and other felonies following a tip to law enforcement that led to the discovery of a missing 14-year-old girl in his Lake Worth motel room. The man was charged with trafficking of a child to engage in sexual conduct, sexual assault of a child, and delivery of a controlled substance to a minor.

At least one web-based reverse sting has occurred in the city. In April 2023, 42 people were arrested by Lake Worth Police over the course of two days during a counter-human trafficking operation officials called “Operation April Fools.” The arrests occurred between April 11 and 12. At a press conference, the Lake Worth police chief said the joint operation included his agency and Homeland Security Investigations Dallas, and targeted suspects trying to engage in prostitution in Lake Worth. As part of the operation, undercover police officers posed as escorts and prostituted persons. When people who responded arrived in person to meet up, they were arrested. The 42 arrests included 41 men and one woman. None of the suspects were residents of Lake Worth. The police chief said, “There were some people arrested who, this was their first arrest. Had no criminal history prior to showing up. Then there were some others who had pages of criminal history. It really does impact people from all walks of life.” Though none of the undercover advertisements posted by police featured minors, some of the people arrested had active warrants for aggravated sexual assault of a child, solicitation of a minor, and aggravated assault of a police officer. Two of the arrestees had violated their parole and two convicted murderers were among those arrested. Police said three handguns, one assault rifle, over four pounds of drugs, about $15,000 in cash, and six fraudulent license plates were recovered in the arrests. The 42 arrestees faced charges of solicitation of prostitution, which is a state jail felony. The charge carries a maximum penalty of up to two years in jail and a $10,000 fine. Their identities were released to the press.

Key Partners

  • Lake Worth Police Department
  • Homeland Security Investigations Dallas
    • North Texas Human Trafficking Task Force
  • United States Secret Service
  • Texas Department of Public Safety (TX DPS)
  • Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office
  • Colleyville Police Department
  • Richardson Police Department
State Texas
Type City
Population 4674
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