Pecos, 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

Pecos is the largest city in – and the county seat of – Reeves County, Texas. It is in the Trans-Pecos region of West Texas, located just south of New Mexico’s border, and has a population of roughly 13,000. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been well documented problems in Pecos and surrounding areas for years.  For example, in December, 2013, a man was arrested by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) on a range of charges related to child pornography, sexual exploitation, and illicit drugs abuse.  The man was charged in federal court with producing and possessing “child pornography ” (child sexual abuse materials, or CSAM), and possessing methamphetamine. According to court documents, a relative of the offender filed a complaint with the Reeves County Sheriff’s Office alleging the man possessed on his computer and cellular phone photos and videos of him engaging in sexually explicit conduct with minors. Sheriff’s deputies investigated the complaint and referred the case to HSI special agents for federal prosecution. In November, members of the HSI-led Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) in Big Bend, Reeves County sheriff’s deputies, Pecos Police Department officers, and U.S. Marshals executed a search warrant at the suspect’s home. Agents found a video camera that contained a self-produced video depicting the man engaging in sexually explicit conduct with a minor. While executing the search warrant, agents also found methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia with drug residue. A preliminary review of the man’s computer by HSI computer forensics special agents revealed more than 100 images showing children being sexually abused and exploited. The images were of nude children and youth ranging in age from 4 to 16. A forensic review of the video camera, revealed four videos of children being sexually exploited that the offender produced, and included two videos showing the man paying to sexually assault two little girls. In a case in October, 2017, a 16-year-old girl was rescued in Pecos during a FBI investigation into sex trafficking at truck stops and hotels in far West Texas. FBI agents arrested two women on federal charges in connection with the case, which was part of a multiagency operation in El Paso, Pecos and Fort Stockton. The Pecos case was part of a national FBI-led crackdown named Operation Cross Country XI, which targets the sex trafficking of minors. The 16 year old girl was found to have been forced to engage in prostitution.

Among the approaches used to combat such problems have been those targeting consumer level demand for commercial sex that drives all sex trafficking.  For example, in October, 2021, a man employed as school resource officer in Brewster County was suspended after he was arrested and charged with solicitation of prostitution.  According to the Reeves County Sheriff’s Office, the man was arrested following a sting operation by the Pecos Police Department and Department of Public Safety.  He was placed on administrative suspension without pay by the Brewster County Sheriff’s Office pending the outcome of the investigation.

Local law enforcement agencies have also collaborated on large scale regional sting operations.  For example, in March 2018, eleven West Texas agencies teamed up during a 15-day prostitution sting operation to arrest 62 people. Operation Gauntlet was the work of The Odessa and Midland Police departments, the Midland County Sheriff’s Office, Department of Public Safety, Midland Fire Department, Andrews and Abilene police, the FBI and the U.S. Marshalls Office.  During the 15 days, the agencies were able to arrest 62 sex buyers.  In January, 2022, several law enforcement agencies collaborated to conduct multiple adult prostitution operations and online solicitation of minor operations throughout the West Texas Region. Officials said the goal of the operations was to target individuals seeking to exploit and victimize trafficking victims, as well as to identify and apprehend individuals suspected to be involved in human trafficking by using various websites to solicit sexual acts from minors. As a result of these operations, thirty-five (35) suspects were arrested and faced charges. The identities of the 35 arrested individuals were public released, and aw enforcement officials said Special Agents were also able to identify and open investigations into additional suspects.  Agencies collaborating on the investigations included: The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Criminal Investigations Division (CID); Texas Highway Patrol; Homeland Security Investigations; El Paso Police Department; Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission; Fort Bliss Army CID; Odessa Police Department; Reeves County Sheriff’s Office, and Texas DPS Intelligence and Counter Terrorism Division.

Key Partners

  • Pecos Police Department
  • Reeves County Sheriff’s Office
State Texas
Type City
Population 12673
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