Ken Paxton

Friday, November 7, 2003

Attorney General Abbott's Cyber Crimes Officers Arrest Three More Child Predators This Week

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's Cyber Crimes Unit tracked down and arrested two men Wednesday in Bastrop and Hays counties, one of whom already faces trial in Montague County for stalking an underage girl there.

(Mauro Palacio, John Duff, Boris Alvarado)

The two were charged with criminal solicitation of a minor for attempting to meet what they thought would be underage "girls" for sexual encounters. A third man was arrested Monday in Bastrop County on a similar charge.

This brings to 21 the number of men arrested by Attorney General Abbott's Cyber Crimes Unit in the past six months after the men engaged the "girls" in teen Internet chat rooms. In reality the girls were Cyber Crimes investigators trained in explicit chat room conversations initiated by child predators.

"I continue to be amazed and disgusted that we've seen no hesitation on the part of some predators who will actually try to meet children for sex," said Attorney General Abbott. "Parents should be aware their children likely will be approached in an explicitly sexual way by an adult in a chat room."

One of the men arrested Wednesday, Mauro Castaneda Palacio, 37, a former Fort Hood soldier from Killeen, had been arrested by Army investigators in Bell County last March. In that case, he will be prosecuted by the Attorney General in Montague County for allegedly tracking down and attempting to meet an actual 14-year-old girl at her home in Bowie after chatting with her on the Internet.

Officers executed a search warrant for his home in Killeen after this arrest and allegedly extracted child pornography from the computer. Cyber Crimes officers turned this information over to Bell County officials.

On Wednesday, Palacio was arrested again. He had been chatting online with the Cyber Crimes investigator posing as a 15-year-old girl, and he allegedly told the investigator he had set up meetings with underage girls before.

At about 6 p.m. Wednesday, Cyber Crimes investigators arrested John Michael Duff, 22, of San Antonio, as he arrived at a restaurant along I-35 in San Marcos to meet a 13-year-old girl for sex.

On Monday, Boris Alvarado, 30, of Austin, was arrested when he arrived in Bastrop County to meet what he thought would be a 14-year-old girl he met in a Yahoo chat room. He was arrested by Cyber Crimes officers without incident.

The Bastrop County Sheriff's Office and San Marcos Police Department assisted the Cyber Crimes Unit in these arrests.