Mercedes, TX

Tactics Used

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

Mercedes is a city of roughly 17,000 residents in Hidalgo County, located in Southern Texas across the Rio Grande from Reynosa, Mexico. The population is roughly 16, and the city is part of the greater  McAllen–Edinburg–Mission and Reynosa–McAllen metropolitan area.  Local law enforcement agencies have reported problems with prostitution in the community and surrounding areas for years, dating back at least to the 1970s, and residents and business owners have complained about commercial sex in some neighborhoods.  Sex trafficking of children has also been documented locally.

Efforts to address these issues have included demand reduction tactics such as web based reverse stings.  For example, in 2016 a Mercedes resident was charged with prostitution, a Class B misdemeanor, one of 11 men arrested for seeking to buy sex. In February 2021, two men from Mercedes were charged with prostitution, online solicitation of a minor, and engaging in organized criminal activity.  Officers from the Mercedes Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division arrested the two men and were searching for a third suspect involved in the case.  The identities of the arrested men were publicized.

Key Partners

  • Mercedes Police Department
    • Criminal Investigations Division
  • Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office
  • McAllen Police Department
  • Homeland Security Investigations
State Texas
Type City
Population 16564
Location
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