September 22, 2015

Federal Authorities Arrest New Mexico Man Charged with Sex Trafficking of Children

In El Paso, a federal grand jury has charged a 31-year-old Artesia, NM, man with sex trafficking of children announced United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr., Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Douglas E. Lindquist, El Paso Division, and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Waldemar Rodriguez, El Paso Division.

The federal indictment, returned on September 9, 2015, charges Vernon Dimayuga (aka “Vito”) with three counts of Sex Trafficking of Children. According to the indictment filed in this case, beginning in May 2011 through May 2012, Dimayuga recruited three children under the age of 18 to engage in commercial sex acts.

Federal authorities arrested Dimayuga in Las Cruces, NM, on Friday. The indictment and arrest warrant were unsealed during his initial appearance yesterday in federal court in Las Cruces before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joel M. Carson. He remains in federal custody pending a preliminary and detention hearing scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephan M. Vidmar in Las Cruces.

“The arrest of Mr. Dimayuga for sex trafficking of minors demonstrates that the FBI and our partners in the Department of Homeland Security, El Paso Police Department, and El Paso County Sheriff’s Office will investigate all instances where children in our community are being harmed or exploited,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Douglas E. Lindquist, El Paso Division.

“HSI special agents are committed to working with our law enforcement partners to ensure those responsible for such heinous acts are justly prosecuted,” Waldemar Rodriguez, Special Agent in Charge of HSI El Paso, said.

Upon conviction, the defendant faces between ten years and life in federal prison.

This case was the result of a joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Homeland Security Investigations as part of the Anti-Trafficking Coordination Team (ACTeam). Assistant United States Attorney Rifian Newaz is prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.

An indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.