By Jen Kastner
PECOS COUNTY- A growing number of sex offenders are popping up in Fort Stockton. The U.S. Marshal's Service says Pecos County has more registered sex offenders than any other small county they cover in their West Texas division. That division runs from Ector County down to Mexico and then northwest up to El Paso and New Mexico.
Pecos County Sheriff Cliff Harris says, "We have sex offenders here in Fort Stockton and Sheffield and the Iraan area. They're just scattered out all over the place."
The U.S. Marshal's Service, Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Patrol, Department of Public Safety, Pecos County Sheriff's Department, Pecos County Probation Department, Fort Stockton Police Department and the Texas Attorney General's Fugitive Apprehension Unit came together on Wednesday night for the county's largest ever sex offender compliance check.
Senior Deputy Marshal Robin McBride with the Pecos Division of the U.S. Marshals Service says, "We then make contact with each one of the sex offenders. We try to verify their addresses, where they're living and also where they're working."
30 officers gathered as much information on each offender as they could get. Contact was made with all but four who are legally working in outside counties. During the check, three fugitives were also picked up.
Crystal Galvan is an Intensive Supervision Officer with the Pecos County Adult Probation Department. She says, "You can never underestimate these sex offenders. I just need to make sure that, for the protection of the community, they're in compliance and doing what they need to be doing."
There are 40 registered sex offenders living in Pecos County. Most of them are in Fort Stockton. The U.S. Marshal's Service says the majority are older men who have preyed upon young children.
Senior Deputy, Marshal McBride, says, "The ones that I dealt with last night had five year-olds and six year-olds as victims and a lot of times they were family members."
With the help of outside agencies, law enforcement had double the response since the last check which was held two years ago.
Why are all these offenders gathering in Fort Stockton? The U.S. Marshals Service thinks it may have something to do with the city running along Interstate 10. Sex offenders leaving the halfway houses in El Paso may stop there after they've served their time.