Sex Buyer arrested during Human Trafficking Operation, convicted of Prostitution
On April 15, 2019, a jury found Defendant Gabriel Guel, 33, guilty of the offense of Prostitution. The trial was held in County Court at Law Number One (1) of Montgomery County, Texas, Judge Dennis Watson presiding. Following his conviction, Guel was sentenced by Judge Watson to 1 Year Probation and $1,000 fine.
In October, 2018, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with partners with the Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance (HTRA), including the Houston Police Department, Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and other law enforcement agencies and nonprofit organizations conducted “Operation Cross County,” a human trafficking/prostitution sting operation. In an effort to rescue trafficking victims and decrease demand for sexual exploitation and illicit sex, law enforcement investigators worked in undercover capacities posing as sex sellers and buyers. During the operation, law enforcement was able to identify at least five trafficking victims who requested support services and one 16 year old juvenile was recovered as a runaway.
Guel was arrested on October 24, 2018, during Operation Cross County after offering to pay a fee to an undercover officer in exchange for sexual intercourse and oral sex. Guel responded to an ad posted online, made phone contact with the female undercover officer, and eventually drove to the designated location to pay for sex. The entire communication between Guel and the undercover officer was recorded, both audio and video. Based on the evidence presented at trial, it was clear that Guel had bought sex before. The jury deliberated for only twenty minutes before finding Guel guilty of Prostitution. Human Trafficking Prosecutor Laura Bond handled this case.
Tyler Dunman, Special Crimes Bureau Chief: “The primary goal of law enforcement operations like Operation Cross County is to proactively address prostitution and human trafficking activity in Montgomery County and surrounding areas. Most women who are engaged in selling sex are doing so because they are being trafficked or find themselves suffering from other vulnerabilities such as homelessness and poverty. Either way, we are going to continue to aggressively attack the demand by arresting and prosecuting sex buyers who perpetuate this brutal cycle of abuse and exploitation of vulnerable women.”
Source: J. Tyler Dunman, Assistant District Attorney, Chief, Special Crimes Bureau, Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office