DPS, MCSO make arrests in prostitution sting

Oct. 19—The Texas Department of Public Safety issued a press release late Wednesday evening that DPS Criminal Investigations Division and the Midland County Sheriff's Office conducted a Human Trafficking and Online Solicitation Operation on Tuesday in Midland.

The sting operation was supported by DPS Highway Patrol and Intelligence and Counter Terrorism Divisions. The goal was to target individuals soliciting prostitutes, as well as to identify and apprehend individuals suspected to be involved in human trafficking by using various websites to solicit sexual acts.

As a result of this operation, eight suspects were arrested and are now facing the charge of solicitation of prostitution which is a state jail felony. The eight arrested were taken to Midland County Jail.

DPS announced the people arrested were Gene Powell, 57, of Gardendale, Felipe De Jesus Lemus, 29, of Van Wheeler, Ronnie Dixon, 38, of Midland, Trey Luckey, 51, of Midland, Austin Barnes, 38, of Odessa, Christopher Holmes, 27, of Lufkin, Albert Solis, 37, of Sweetwater, and Wilbert Ruiz, 40, of Burleson.

Powell is the Public Information Officer with the Texas Department of Transportation in Odessa. He has also been employed as a part-time copy desk employee at the Odessa American.

Powell was also arrested in 2004 for prostitution and that charge was dismissed after he successfully completed deferred adjudication.