In August of 2023, Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Criminal Investigations Division (CID) Special Agents along with Texas Highway Patrol Troopers and the El Paso and New Mexico United States Border Patrol Anti-Smuggling Units discovered a suspected stash house on the west side of El Paso, and a 13-year-old child locked in one of the bedrooms. Once agents entered the house, they observed a make-shift door with a lock in the main hallway and found each room door also had coded locks. Further investigation determined the house was being utilized for sex trafficking and the trafficking of drugs, including fentanyl and methamphetamine.
The Texas Department of Family Protective Services (TDFPS) and DPS Victim Services Counselor (VESS) assisted the victim and they were eventually over to officials.
The investigation is still active and ongoing. At this time, the following individuals have been arrested and/or charged:
- Jose Sierra Jr., 43, El Paso, Texas – Charges: Child Endangerment-Imminent Danger BI (2nd Degree Felony) and Possession of Marijuana < 2 ounces (Class B Misdemeanor).
- Francisco Luevano, 47, El Paso, Texas – Charges: with Child Endangerment- Imminent Danger BI (2nd Degree Felony) and Possession of Cocaine <1 gram (State Jail Felony).
So far this year, 250 stash houses have been located in the El Paso Sector. DPS encourages the public to report any suspicious activity to police immediately. To make a report, please call the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-252-TIPS (8477) or submit a tip online at https://www.p3tips.com/650. Rewards of up to $5,000 are available.
These types of investigations highlight the partnership between local, state and federal law enforcement partners working together to combat human trafficking. If you are a victim of human trafficking or have information about this type of criminal activity, please contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at (888) 373-7888. Citizens can also report suspicious activity to the U.S. Border Patrol while remaining anonymous by calling 1-800-635-2509.