MIDLAND, Texas (KMID/KPEJ)- Texas Department of Transportation Public Information Officer Gene Powell Jr., 57, and six others were arrested Tuesday in a joint operation between the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Midland County Sheriff’s Office aimed at cracking down on prostitution.
Powell, along with Wilbert Ruiz, 40, Trey Luckey, 51, Felipe Lemus, 29, Christopher Holmes, 27, Ronnie Dixon, 38, and Austin Barnes, 38, have all been charged with solicitation, a state jail felony.
All seven were arrested at a Holiday Inn Express located in the 5300 block of W Loop 250. An affidavit stated that the suspects responded by text message to online advertisements and agreed to pay a fee in exchange for sex. The men then knocked on the door of a hotel room and were greeted by undercover officers instead of the women they were prepared to meet.
Each suspect remained behind bars as of Wednesday afternoon on $1,500 bond.
As for Powell, this is not the first time he has been arrested in connection with a prostitution sting. He was charged with the same in 2004 following an enormous vice operation; on May 27 of that year, more than a dozen Odessa officers raided the Healing Touch massage parlor and arrested several employees.
Women charged in the case later provided officials with a “client list” in exchange for lighter sentences and Powell, along with 67 others, were arrested as a result.