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Human Smuggling/Trafficking

El Paso juvenile probation officer arrested on federal sex trafficking charges

El Paso juvenile probation officer arrested on federal sex trafficking charges
El Paso juvenile probation officer arrested on federal sex trafficking charges

EL PASO, Texas — A local juvenile probation officer, named in a superseding federal indictment unsealed Tuesday, remains in federal custody charged with sex trafficking a minor following his Jan. 17 arrest.

This case was investigated by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the FBI as part of the federal Anti-Trafficking Coordination Team (ACTeam).

Timothy McCullouch Jr., 28, an El Paso County juvenile probation officer, was arrested Friday by HSI and FBI special agents. He is charged in a superseding federal grand jury indictment, returned Jan. 15 and unsealed following his arrest, with one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, and one count of sex trafficking a minor.

In addition to McCullouch, the indictment charges five El Paso gang members for their roles in the sex trafficking scheme: Deion Lockhart, 25, Brandon Shapiro, 21, Tai Von Lynch, 20, Richard Gray, 24, and Emmanual Lockhart, 23. All five remain in custody pending trial set for June 6 in federal court. Upon conviction, each defendant faces up to life in federal prison.

According to court records, the defendants were involved in the forced prostitution of juveniles and adults by the Folk Nation/Gangster Disciples street gang between May 2012 and March 2013. The defendants used a combination of force, fraud and coercion to compel their victims to have sex for money in El Paso and Killeen, Texas; Albuquerque, N.M.; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Colorado.

McCullouch remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing Jan. 24 in U.S. Magistrate Judge Anne T. Burton's court. If convicted, he faces a maximum punishment of life in federal prison.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the El Paso Police Department Gang Unit assisted HSI and the FBI throughout this investigation.

Folk Nation/Gangster Disciples members Kiry Hakeem Nalls and Grant Rutledge, both 24, were indicted in July 2013 on forced prostitution charges. Nalls and Rutlege also face up to life imprisonment upon conviction. Their trial is set for March 3 in federal court.

The ACTeam is part of a nationwide initiative aimed at coordinating federal criminal investigations, prosecutions of human trafficking violations and consolidating victim services. ACTeam includes the U.S. Attorney's Office, HSI, FBI and the Department of Labor.

El Paso operates one of six pilot ACTeams in the nation. The other pilots are in Atlanta, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Memphis and Miami.

Human trafficking includes sex and labor trafficking offenses.

"HSI's participation in ACTeam goes hand-in-hand with its commitment to identify and investigate human trafficking threats, as well as protect victims' rights and bring traffickers to justice," said Dennis A. Ulrich, special agent in charge of HSI El Paso. "We will continue to work tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to dismantle human trafficking networks in our community."

An indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rifian Newaz and Robert Almonte, Western District of Texas, are prosecuting these cases.