Laredo, TX

Tactics Used

Reverse stings
Shaming
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Letters
Cameras
Web stings
License suspension

Laredo is a city of approximately 260,000 residents, located in Webb County, Texas along the Mexican border. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been persistent and visible problems in the city for decades. Among the serious related crimes have been the serial killing of persons engaged in selling sex.  For example, in September 2018, a veteran U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent was arrested and charged with crimes associated with the murder or at least four people in Laredo, allegedly preying on women with drug problems. The man was accused of killing three women and one transgender woman in a two-week span.  A fifth alleged potential victim thwarted his “dangerous” plans for her when she escaped from him at a gas station and alerted police.  The serial killer reportedly confessed to the crimes on September 15, 2018, and was arraigned on four counts of murder and one count of kidnapping, and was held in jail on more than $2 million bond. Court documents from a separate, unrelated case showed that the man reportedly specialized in narcotics and human trafficking and was at one point in charge of patrolling I-95 and intercepting vehicles suspected of trafficking drugs and humans. At least one of his victims was later found along that same route. Investigators said they had “very strong evidence” that the man was responsible for the deaths of  four women who were “working as prostitutes.”  One of the victims was a transgender woman, according to the Webb County District Attorney.

In an effort to identify and apprehend the city’s sex buyers, the Laredo Police Department’s Narcotics and Vice Unit frequently conducts street-level reverse stings. Operations typically utilize an undercover female officer, who serves as a decoy in an area known for commercial sex sales. When johns attempt to solicit the officer, they are arrested.  Police routinely release the names and photos of offenders to the local media.  For example, in June 2019, eleven men were arrested and charged with prostitution during a sting operation by the Laredo Police Department Narcotics Unit conducted at the 3600 block of San Bernardo and San Agustin Avenue between the hours of 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m one night.  Mug shots and identifying information about all of the arrested men were included in news releases.

In September, 2019 an off-duty Border Patrol agent was arrested for soliciting prostitution after a several month investigation led by the Laredo Police Department, in conjunction with the FBI and Customs and Border Patrol Office of Professional Responsibility.  Through the course of the investigation, the agent was identified as a person to have solicited an illegal alien for prostitution. The case was then presented to the Webb County District Attorney’s Office who determined there was sufficient evidence to secure the warrant of arrest.  The man was booked and processed then remanded to Webb County Jail in lieu of a $500 bond.

 

Key Partners

Key Sources

State Texas
Type City
Population 259151
Location
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