McAllen, TX

Tactics Used

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

McAllen is a city of approximately 142,000 residents, located in southern Texas’ Hidalgo County, across the Rio Grande from Reynosa, Mexico. Local law enforcement have reported problems with prostitution in the community for several years, and residents and business owners have complained about commercial sex activity in some neighborhoods. Cases of targeted homicide of prostituted women have also been documented.

In an effort to address these issues, the McAllen Police Department has conducted periodic reverse stings since at least 2004. Operations are conducted at street level, using female undercover officers as decoys. In March 2007 and April 2009, for example, MPD officers arrested a total of 11 sex buyers in two separate reversals. In more recent operations – conducted in October 2013, January 2015, October 2015, December 2015, and December 2017 – the MPD conducted “dual” stings targeting both sex buyers and sellers.  Following their arrests, all individuals charged with prostitution-related offenses may have their names, mugshots, and/or other identifying information publicized by local media outlets.

In April 2019, a set of three sting and reverse sting operations resulted in the arrest of 10 males on prostitution charges and three for online solicitation of a minor during a law enforcement internet operation. The operations were a collaboration between McAllen police and Homeland Security Investigations.  In April, 2022, the McAllen Police Department arrested six male sex buyers in an undercover prostitution sting. The identities of the arrested sex buyers were included in news releases in these and other operations.

Loss of employment is another consequence of buying sex that has occurred within the city. In April, 2019, investigators arrested a custodian at Sharyland North Junior High after students said he offered to pay them for oral sex. Two boys said that the custodian touched them inappropriately and offered to pay them for oral sex, according to court records. A third boy witnessed the incidents. Investigators charged the man with two counts of prostitution-soliciting a person younger than 18 years old, a second-degree felony, and one count of making a terroristic threat, a Class B misdemeanor. Upon learning of certain allegations, the Sharyland Independent School District initiated an immediate investigation. The custodian was terminated and the allegations were reported to the Texas Education Agency as well as to Child Protective Services as required by law. The former employee was subsequently arrested. If convicted on the felony charges, the man would face a maximum of 20 years in prison.

Key Partners

  • McAllen Police Department
  • Homeland Security Investigations

Key Sources

Street-Level Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Loss of Employment:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

State Texas
Type City
Population 141968
Location
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