Albuquerque, NM – Today, Attorney General Hector Balderas, Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales, Homeland Security Investigations and the Albuquerque Police Department announced the successful result of a joint operation targeting commercial sex trafficking of minors in Albuquerque. Seven men were arrested this week in Albuquerque during the operation for soliciting sex with someone they believed to be a 15-year-old girl, who was actually an undercover BCSO deputy. The men all attempted to pay $40 to $200 to have sex with 15-year-old girls.
The Albuquerque office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) led the multi-agency operation, which began July 17. The four-day operation also focused on consumers of underage prostitutes, and rescuing victims, which included juveniles.
“There is no higher priority than protecting our children from sexual violence and dangerous sexual predators, and I want to thank all of the agencies that worked together on this successful operation to combat the trafficking of children in New Mexico,” said Attorney General Hector Balderas.
“Operation Recovery is a collaboration between BCSO, HSI, APD and the New Mexico Attorney General. I truly believe in the effort to advocate for victims who have been forced into a life of sex trafficking and placed in a position to restore stability in their life. This partnership has proven to be fruitful in targeting sex traffickers who prey on minors. Let this be a notice to those who participate in sex trafficking that law enforcement will hold you accountable,” said Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales III.
“HSI special agents and our law enforcement partners are pursuing all leads identified during this operation, and will expand investigations to further disrupt and dismantle sex trafficking organizations throughout New Mexico, the United States and abroad,” Waldemar Rodriguez, special agent in charge of HSI El Paso said. Rodriguez oversees HSI operations in west Texas and the entire state of New Mexico.
“Sex trafficking will not be tolerated in our city. We are thankful to the Attorney General and our law enforcement partners for all of their efforts. We will continue to collaborate and ensure we end inhumane crimes like this in our city,” said APD Chief Gorden E. Eden Jr.