For two tacos and a soft drink, Jose Garcia believed he was going to have sex with a 13-year-old girl, police said.
Garcia was one of nine North Texas men arrested last week during spring break in an online sting conducted by Fort Worth police and investigators with the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Hurst office. The youngest is 20 and the oldest 49, according to jail records.
Investigators placed advertisements on various social media sites seeking anyone interested in sexual encounters with female or male minors.
On nine different occasions, police say, the person who answered an ad made plans to meet with a minor at a Fort Worth residence. The “minor” was an undercover officer trained on how to chat with child predators, police said.
When the suspects arrived, there was no teen, only police.
“I can remember one very cold day when we didn’t have anyone who responded,” police Sgt. Wade Walls, a supervisor in the crimes against children unit, said Monday. “But generally we run it for four to five days, and we’ll have nine or 10 arrests. We ran it on Valentine’s Day and arrested four.”
Seven men have been charged with online solicitation of a minor under 14, police said.
Garcia, 26, of Fort Worth and Ankur Bambhrolia, 20, of Keller have been charged with online solicitation and also face prostitution charges, Walls said.
Garcia is accused of asking for sex acts to be performed on him. He asked that no condom be used, according to a police report.
Bambhrolia is accused of asking to have sex with a 13-year-old girl and bringing $20 to pay for it, police said.
Others arrested in the sting were Edgar Manuel Rivera-Salazar, 20, of Fort Worth; Cristhian Molina, 22, of Dallas; Marcus Beavers, 20, of Fort Worth; Carlos Alberto Yanez-Cervantes, 49, of Fort Worth; Enrique Vega, 26, of Fort Worth; Abel Morales, 26, of Duncanville; and Jayavardhan Aluri, 35, of McKinney.
Last summer, eight men were arrested in a similar sting, police said.
Walls said the random sting operations will continue at various times during the year.