Child predator cases in NM on the rise

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Detectives across New Mexico are investigating more child predators who are using new ways to prey on children, but agents are working fast to catch them first.

An Internet Crimes Against Children, or ICAC, agent poses as a young child online several days a week. On one occasion, she was a 12-year-old girl and made sure everyone on that teen chat website knew it.

She puts in her username “sk8ergrl12″ to log on and within minutes adults are messaging her. Several could be classified as child predators after the conversations get started.

The agent knows if she doesn’t stop whoever is on the other side of that screen a real kid could be having this conversation.

“Hi again,” the agent reads. “Did I scare you off?”

The undercover agent replied back: “mom came in.” Then the person, known on the teen chat website as “Mozoltov” asks what the girl looks like.

The agent lets him know she is 12. The online predator tells her he is 25-years-old. Within seconds he asks for her bra size.

In the 30 minutes the undercover agent was online she had been messaged by about 25 adults. Some had asked to be her boyfriend, another asked for a naked picture.

“He was persistent, ‘are you in the bathroom, are you taking the picture’,” the agent said.

There were also requests that were too vulgar to share in this news story.

“You have a computer, you have a smartphone, the stranger is already in your house,” the agent said.

Special Agent in Charge, Anthony Maez, warns parents that new technology is making it easier for predators to talk to their children.

“Snapchat, Kik , Instagram, Facebook,” Maez said.

Maez said it gets worse. He said agents have run across child predators on Disney websites like Pixie Hollow. He said the predators were preying upon kids as young as 7.

Pixiehollow.com has since been closed. Disney officials said it was shifting its focus to other websites but made no mention of child predators using the site.

Maez said too often it doesn’t stop with chatting.

This is what one of the men chatting with the undercover agent told her.

“It’s okay, your mom and dad aren’t going to find out,” Agent said. “We don’t have to do anything the first time. I want to meet you.”

Since January of 2013, Maez said detectives across New Mexico investigated cases where 185 adults asked a child to meet up at places like parks, restaurants and even gas stations. There were many times the predator would come face to face with an agent instead.

During a bust in January 2013 agents said one man, in his 50s, had been chatting with who he thought was a girl under the age of 13. It only took him days to ask her to meet up with him at an Albuquerque gas station.

As Albuquerque police officers were moving in to make the bust he was texting the girl the description of his truck.

He was arrested and sentenced to more than a year supervised probation and was ordered to register as a sex offender.

“Every time we catch somebody we wonder how many other victims do we have out there,” Maez said.

Agents said phone apps like Kik or Snapchat could allow the child predator to get access to your address through your cell phone number.

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