Midland Army Recruiter Accused of Soliciting Sex with a Minor

By Jen Kastner
NewsWest 9

Midland Army Recruiter Arnold Gonzales was arrested on Tuesday in Clovis, New Mexico. Officials say the 26-year-old man used the Internet to solicit sex from what he thought was a 12-year-old girl. However, there was, in fact, no girl. He was unknowingly communicating with a decoy from the Curry County Sheriff's Internet Predator Unit.

According to a criminal complaint, a little over a week ago, Gonzales replied to an online ad that read, "Cute. Young. If age doesn't matter, hit me up."

The two then began emailing each other. Gonzales sent the decoy photos, including one in his military uniform.

The decoy, an agent with the Sheriff's Office, represented himself as a 12-year-old girl whose family would be relocated to Germany in two weeks. Gonzales asked the decoy the send him photos of "her" in sexually explicit positions and he wrote about wanting to engage in sexual acts with "her."

On Tuesday, Gonzales, who was on special assignment in Oklahoma, texted the decoy. He wrote he was driving out to Clovis to have sex with her. On Wednesday, he rolled up in a government vehicle, while on-duty. Gonzales was arrested.

A former marine at the VFW in Midland who wishes to remain unidentified tells us, "We back our military 100% at this organization. That's just the way it is. But, if he's found guilty, he's going to get what he deserves, 100%."

Jean Bennett with the VFW-Midland Ladies Auxiliary notes if the allegations prove to be true, Gonzales is simply one bad apple who doesn't represent the military at all. "It's just really disappointing. It puts a bad light on the awareness that we try to raise about the military and how they try to serve this country," Bennett said.

The Curry County Sheriff's Office and the FBI investigated the case before turning it over to the court system. Gonzales faces one felony count of "interstate travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor" and a second felony county of "using communication facilities to coerce and entice a minor to engage in a criminal sexual act."

If found guilty, Gonzales could face anywhere from 10 years to life behind bars, a lifetime of patrol and he'd be required to register as a sex offender.