A man was arrested Tuesday after he allegedly tried to pay an undercover officer he thought was a prostitute with a hamburger in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Dominic Calderon, 36, rode his bicycle up to an officer with the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) who was posing as a prostitute while standing near Central and San Pablo SE, according to WGN 9.
A criminal complaint said once Calderon and the officer agreed on terms and price, he asked for her phone number and claimed he would not have enough money to pay her until Friday.
However, the officer noticed Calderon had a to-go bag from a Chili’s restaurant and asked him what was inside it. He told her it was a hamburger.
When she told Calderon he could pay her with the burger and he agreed, he was taken into custody.
Following his arrest, the suspect was charged with patronizing prostitutes, according to KOB 4.
Thursday, the APD tweeted photos of 13 suspects, including Calderon, who were arrested during the recent sting operation:
Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. #APD conducted a John Operation which resulted in the following arrests.
13 Misdemeanor arrests
8 Vehicles towed
1 Felony warrant
1 Felony arrest
1 Sex Offender pic.twitter.com/l5bChgsUO7
— Albuquerque Police Department (@ABQPOLICE) January 30, 2020
Calderon, who registered as a sex offender in January 2012, was on probation at the time of his most recent arrest.
In September, a KOB 4 reporter uncovered a website that advertised prostitutes in Albuquerque.
The website reportedly allowed users to leave reviews of those they met who offered them sex acts and detailed what the prostitute looked like, what they were willing to do, and how much it would cost.
Christine Barber, executive director of Street Safe New Mexico, said she knew about several other sites of the same nature.
“Honestly, it is gross. It is really gross to go onto these websites and see, ‘5’6” green eyes, this is how much I charge,’” she commented.
Sadly, sex trafficking is a big problem in the area, and Barber noted that “prostitute means sex trafficking victim and sex trafficking victim means prostitute. They’re not anything different.”
However, APD Commander Mizel Garcia said investigating the illegal business was tough.
“Reason being – it’s difficult to get the cooperation of the workers that work these businesses,” he commented.
Despite the difficulty, Barber said she believes progress is being made in the fight against sex trafficking.
“We’ve had a lot more cases where the women are willing to help and we’re seeing a lot more calls to the hotline in our state, a lot more cases in general,” she concluded.