Socorro, 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

Socorro is a city of approximately 36,000 residents in El Paso County, TX, located on the north bank of the Rio Grande southeast of El Paso, and on the border of Mexico. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the city of Socorro, in surrounding communities, and throughout El Paso County. For example, in February of 2020, an El Paso strip club was shut down by the El Paso County Attorney’s Office for allegedly illegal activity such as promoting prostitution and serving alcohol without a license, both which had been occurring at the business for years, according to officials. The investigation was the result of a lawsuit brought by the Nuisance Abatement Team (NAT) of the County Attorney’s Office seeking a temporary restraining order against the owners. The closure of the business involved several agencies including law enforcement officers from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, troopers from the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Socorro K-9 Unit, and investigators from the El Paso County Attorney’s Office. Among the more serious crimes associated with local commercial sex market in West Texas is child sex trafficking. For example, in 2021, a multi-agency effort, called Operation Lost Souls, led by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), has resulted in the recovery of 24 missing and/or runaway children throughout El Paso County and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.  According to officials, Operation Lost Souls was intended to serve as an example for how local, state and federal law enforcement partners work together to combat child sex trafficking and human trafficking in their own communities and others. The following agencies assisted in the effort, dubbed Operation Lost Souls: El Paso Police Department, El Paso Sheriff’s Office, Socorro, Ysleta and El Paso Independent School District Police departments, U.S. Marshals Service, El Paso County Juvenile Probation Department, Ysleta Del Sur Tribal Police Division, Texas Anti-Gang Center, the Border Prosecution Unit for the District Attorney’s Office for the 34th Judicial District, El Paso County Attorney’s Office, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Parole Division.

Loss of employment and public disclosure of identities are additional consequences of buying sex that have occurred within the city. For example, in September of 2018, a Socorro High School teacher resigned after being arrested in a prostitution sting the prior week. The offender had been arrested during a Texas Department of Public Safety operation targeting suspects who allegedly agreed to pay for sex. A spokesman for the Socorro Independent School District confirmed that the man was formerly a social studies teacher at Socorro High School, and had been employed by the Socorro school district for 20 years. The offender was initially placed on paid administrative leave, but submitted his resignation a few days later. The teacher was one of 13 men arrested on prostitution charges during a four-day operation conducted by the DPS Criminal Investigations Division. The sex buyer’s identity, photo, age, location, and charge were included in reports from local news sources.

State Texas
Type City
Population 36236
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