Tag Archives: TX Attorney General

TX AG CEU With Copperas Cove PD Take Down Six In Sting

.jpg photo of man arrested in sting operation by Law Enforcement
Josef James Dilly, 31, of Copperas Cove,TX.

AG Paxton’s Child Exploitation Unit and Copperas Cove Police Department Arrest Six Men in Sting Operation

AUSTIN, TX  –  Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that the Child Exploitation Unit and Human Trafficking Unit of his office, in a partnership with Copperas Cove Police Department, arrested five men for Online Solicitation of a Minor and one man for Prostitution during a three-day operation to locate and arrest online predators.

.jpg photo of man arrested in sting operation by Law Enforcement
Victor Manuel Vascot, 45, of Killeen, TX.

The arrested suspects include:

  • Josef James Dilly, 31, of Copperas Cove, arrested November 20 on one count of Online Solicitation of a Minor.
  • Victor Manuel Vascot, 45, of Killeen, arrested November 20 on one count of Online Solicitation of a Minor.
  • Isaac Figueroa Jr., 28, of Round Rock, arrested on November 21 on one count of Online Solicitation of a Minor.
  • Justin Earl Kepler, 31, of Lampasas, arrested on November 21 on one count of Online Solicitation of a Minor.
  • Jesse Franklin Quidachay, 37, of Copperas Cove, arrested on November 21 on one count of Online Solicitation of a Minor.
  • Demerick Deon Hearne, 47, of Copperas Cove, arrested November 20 on one count of Prostitution.

All of the men arrested were transferred to the Coryell County Jail.

.jpg photo of man arrested in sting operation by Law Enforcement
Isaac Figueroa Jr., 28, of Round Rock, TX.

“The grotesque targeting of children is a nationwide issue, and this serves as a reminder that our communities must remain vigilant to protect the most vulnerable from exploitation,” said Attorney General Paxton.  “I thank the hard-working investigators with my office’s Child Exploitation Unit and Human Trafficking Unit, and the brave police officers of Copperas Cove Police Department for stopping these child-predators from potentially harming more innocent children.”

.jpg photo of man arrested in sting operation by Law Enforcement
Justin Earl Kepler, 31, of Lampasas, TX.

Attorney General Paxton’s office works to protect children by using the latest technology to track down online predators.

.jpg photo of man arrested in sting operation by Law Enforcement
Jesse Franklin Quidachay, 37, of Copperas Cove, TX.

Since its inception, the Child Exploitation Unit has made 264 arrests and obtained 194 convictions on charges of Online Solicitation of a Minor.

.jpg photo of man arrested in sting operation by Law Enforcement
Demerick Deon Hearne, 47, of Copperas Cove, TX

Attorney General Paxton urges all parents and teachers to become aware of the risks children face on the internet and take steps to help ensure their safety.

If you suspect someone is producing or downloading child pornography, you can report it to NCMEC.
CyberTipline
1-800-843-5678

For more information on cyber safety, please visit:
https://texasattorneygeneral.gov/initiatives/cyber-safety/

TX AG Fraud Alert

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Fraud Alert from TX Attorney General Office.

Fraud Alert: Scammers Claiming to be
OAG Crime Victim Services Attempting
to Defraud Texans

AUSTIN, TX  –  Attorney General Ken Paxton today warned Texans about reported scam callers falsely claiming to be members of the OAG’s Crime Victim Services Division and attempting to obtain personal and financial information from members of the public.

The fraudulent callers are attempting to obtain personal identifying information from the call recipient and ask for money transfers or bank details after baselessly claiming the call recipient’s social security number has been compromised.

The callers are using local numbers and sometimes provide a false “case number” during the call.

The true OAG Crime Victim Services phone number is toll-free 1-800-983-9933 and local number 512-936-1200.

The OAG warns Texans against providing any personal information, such as social security or banking numbers, over the phone with anyone claiming to be from the Crime Victim Services Division, and encourages anyone who receives a fraudulent or scam call to report it to the OAG’s Consumer Protection Division by calling the Consumer Protection Hotline toll-free at 1-800-621-0508 or filing a complaint online .

TX AG Criminal Investigations Unit Stops Child Predator

.jpg photo of child predator arrested for sextortion
Felipe Jesus Duron, 21, of Atascosa, Texas.

AG Paxton’s Criminal Investigations Unit Makes First Sextortion Arrest

AUSTIN, TX  –  Attorney General Ken Paxton recently commended investigators from the Sextortion Unit in the Criminal Investigations Unit of his office for the arrest of Felipe Jesus Duron, 21, of Atascosa on federal charges of Production of Child Pornography, Coercion and Enticement of a Minor, Receipt of Child Pornography and Possession of Child Pornography.

On October 15, 2019, the Sextortion Unit, with the assistance of the attorney general’s Child Exploitation Unit and FBI San Antonio Child Exploitation Task Force, arrested Duron after a National Center for Missing and Exploited Children® (NCMEC) CyberTipline report revealed a 14-year-old female being coerced to send nude images to Duron via a social media account.

The investigation revealed that Duron requested and received nude images of the underage victim then threatened public exposure of these images if additional nude images were not sent.  Duron also used this tactic to force the young victim into online sexual acts with other males while he recorded the activities.  This case is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office, Western District of Texas.

“Dangerous predators can infiltrate any home through computers, tablets, or phones.  Unfortunately, criminals lurking online often target our most vulnerable citizens and seek to exploit children,” said Attorney General Paxton.  “I am grateful for the work of our Sextortion Unit and the dedicated law enforcement officials they work with to bring criminals like this to justice.”

Attorney General Paxton’s office works to protect children by using the latest technology to track down some of the most profoundly evil predators online.

This case marks the first arrest by a state grant-funded investigation position in the Texas Attorney General’s Office that focuses on sexual coercion.

Attorney General Paxton urges all parents and teachers to become aware of the risks children face on the internet and take steps to help ensure their safety.

If you suspect someone is producing or downloading child pornography, you can report it to NCMEC.
CyberTipline
1-800-843-5678

For more information on cyber safety, please visit:
https://texasattorneygeneral.gov/initiatives/cyber-safety/

These People Care Nothing For Women Nor Parents

.jpg photo of TX Attorney General Logo graphic
Texas Attorney General Logo graphic.

AG Paxton Defends State Laws
Protecting the Health and Safety of
Texas Women

AUSTIN, TX  –  A legal team from Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office today urged the U.S. District Court in Austin to dismiss a baseless lawsuit brought by radical pro-abortion activists seeking to strike down virtually all abortion-related laws and regulations in Texas.

“It’s outrageous that these activists are so dedicated to their radical pro-abortion agenda that they want the courts to repeal laws enacted by the Texas Legislature to protect the health of women getting abortions, such as requiring the sterilization of medical instruments,” Attorney General Paxton said.  “Many of Texas’ common-sense abortion regulations have been in place for decades, are similar to laws passed in a majority of the states, and have been upheld as constitutional by the courts.”

During oral arguments at today’s district court hearing, Attorney General Paxton’s office pointed out that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld requirements like those targeted in the lawsuit against Texas, affirming multiple times that the state has an interest in safeguarding women’s health and protecting unborn life.

Texas’ abortion-related laws include many common-sense rules, such as requiring that abortion clinics are licensed, surgical instruments must be sterilized, and more complicated and dangerous late-term surgical abortions must be performed in surgical centers rather than in a doctor’s office.  Texas is not alone in protecting the health and safety of women:

  • 40 states limit abortions to being performed only by a physician;
  • 44 states have parental involvement requirements; and
  • 29 states have laws requiring physicians to provide certain information to patients considering an abortion.

“My office’s solid legal arguments demonstrated that the lawsuit is attempting to use the judicial system to repeal laws that the state’s elected representatives passed to make sure women who have abortions do so with all the information they need and under conditions that are as medically safe as possible,” Attorney General Paxton said.  “I’m hopeful the district court will agree with us and dismiss this baseless lawsuit.”

Need More Attorneys General Like TX And NM

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NM Attorney General Hector Balderas

New Mexico Attorney General wants to handle fatal Child Abuse cases

Attorney General Hector Balderas wants New Mexico lawmakers to expand his authority by allowing him to take over child abuse cases resulting in death without having to wait for a district attorney to decline to prosecute, dismiss the case or ask for his help.

Why?  Balderas said in a phone interview Friday that his office is well equipped to handle such cases and he wants to be able to step in and help children whenever its resources are needed, “like the Navy SEALs.”

“When prosecutors have referred complex, tragic cases to us, we’ve had above-average success rates,” Balderas said.

Balderas said his office is uniquely equipped to handle complicated child abuse cases because his staff includes victim advocates, investigators, lawyers and appellate attorneys, meaning he could handle all aspects of a case without having to rely on other agencies to bring a case to trail.

“In every community, there are sometimes unhealthy tensions between law enforcement, child protective agencies and the DA’s Office,” Balderas said.  “But we are one unit.  We collaborate at every stage.  We are always working together.”

Under current laws, Balderas said, he has to wait for the prosecutor in the judicial district where a case arises to either ask for his help, dismiss a case or decline to prosecute before the Attorney General’s Office can jump in.

“To me, that’s just not sound policy when we are in a child abuse crisis,” Balderas said.  “Now is the time to make the attorney general an equal partner.  I shouldn’t have to ask for permission.  It shouldn’t be a failure in the system that triggers our ability to intervene.”

Balderas said district attorneys usually work well with his office but sometimes don’t agree on the best way to attack a case.

He pointed to a recent high-profile child abuse death in the Taos area in which authorities say a 3-year-old boy abducted by his father from the child’s mother’s home in Georgia was found dead after being denied medications and instead subjected to Islamic prayer rituals for healing.  Balderas said that case is an example of one that could have benefited from his office’s expertise.

The attorney general said he offered 8th Judicial District Attorney Donald Gallegos his help at the outset of the Taos County case, but Gallegos didn’t consult with him until after a judge denied a motion to hold the defendants without bail while they await trial.

“I offered meaningful support and strategy so they could win and the community would get a timely and aggressive prosecution,” Balderas said.  “I don’t believe it’s collaboration when you are only calling after a loss or setback.”

Gallegos did not return a call seeking comment for this story.

In other cases, Balderas said, the state Children, Youth and Families Department has made investigative missteps that affected the outcome.

CYFD Secretary Monique Jacobson said Friday she didn’t know enough about Balderas’ proposal to comment at length she welcomes the chance to partner with Balderas or any other law enforcement agency on improving front-end investigations to better protect the state’s children.  Jacobson added that her agency might not be affected if the law were changed because CYFD doesn’t participate in criminal investigations.

A spokesman for Second Judicial District Attorney Raúl Torrez in Albuquerque referred questions to New Mexico District Attorney’s Association President Dianna Luce.

Luce, a prosecutor in southeastern New Mexico, said in an email that Balderas had not contacted her organization about proposed legislation and that she cannot comment in her capacity as association president until she knows more.

“As the elected district attorney in the Fifth Judicial District,” she wrote, “I’m opposed to giving blanket authority to another entity outside of my district.  Our prosecutors have experience in prosecuting these types of cases and have successfully prosecuted child abuse resulting in death cases.”

In Santa Fe, First Judicial District Attorney Marco Serna said in an email Friday he also hadn’t seen the proposed law change and wanted a chance to discuss it with Balderas and the District Attorney’s Association to see what exactly the attorney general proposes.

“I can’t speak for all district attorneys in our state,” Serna wrote, “but I would anticipate opposition to the Attorney General’s position, considering each DA is elected to their respective districts.”

Serna added that he has a “great working relationship” with Balderas’ office and will continue to request assistance or pull resources from the Attorney General’s Office when needed.

Balderas said he is working to draft legislation and find a legislative sponsor.