A New Mexico cop still in training as a school resource officer at a middle school was arrested on two counts of child solicitation by electronic communication device on November 18.
Roswell police officer Alonso Barrientos asked an underage user on Grindr his age, to which he replied,”14.”
“You’re young. I’m 17,” Barrientos, 25, texted back.
Barrientos had just begun working at Mesa Middle School for the Roswell Police Department on October 23 when he started sending sexual pictures to male students and asking for their pictures, according to KRQE.
According to his arrest affidavit, an investigation began after someone came forward alleging Barrientos was having sexual relations with their little brother.
Barrientos was so new to the school, students didn’t know his name.
However, during the investigation, they were able to identify him using a Facebook picture of him swearing in to the Roswell Police Department on October 19.
A teacher told police she overheard conversations of students talking about Barrientos.
After searching his phone, officers found he was active on several social media apps, including Grindr–a site for gay men.
Barrientos admitted to having sex with other users on Grindr, but not with minors.
However, when officers continued searching his activity on social media, they found messages of Barrientos presenting himself as a 17-year-old and asking minor children if they were “horny” and requesting nude photos of the boys.
Barrientos had one deleted Grindr message on his phone from the user “No Fems!”
Investigators questioned Barrientos, asking him if he knew it was inappropriate to have the conversations with minors.
He replied “yes”.
Roswell investigators fear there could be more victims and are asking for other victims to come forward.
Residents of Roswell were shocked by the arrest.
“An officer is supposed to be someone that’s keeping your children safe especially at a school,” resident Hannah Buckaloo said.
“I think what RPD should be doing is screening their officers a little more carefully, right? To make sure that they’re not on any of these social media websites soliciting children,” Mike Jimenez of Roswell said during an interview.
Before being sworn in as a police officer, Barrientos worked as a Roswell Police Service Aide for over two years.
He was booked into the Chaves County Detention Center last Friday.