Early Monday morning, Lubbock Sheriff's Deputies arrested 49-year-old Mario Luna and charged him with online solicitation of a minor.
The arrest came after a week-long investigation by the Sheriff's Office.
"This was an absolute surprise to us once we initially identified him and did the background," said Lubbock County Sheriff Kelly Rowe. "There were no indicators prior to this particular incident."
Luna initiated contact with a Facebook page set up by the sheriff's office. He thought he was reaching out to a 16-year-old girl.
"He made contact with the social media site. We followed up and quickly determined what his intent was and just followed it through to the point where he wanted to have an actual meeting," Sheriff Rowe said.
That meeting took place Sunday night near 50th and Slide. That's where sheriff's deputies took Luna into custody. Hours later, Sheriff Rowe personally delivered him to the Lubbock County Detention Center, at which point his employment was terminated.
Luna had worked at the Sheriff's office for seven years as a jailer.
"The main thing that's important is that there's no actual victim in this particular case, but once he started interacting with us, we just pursued it to the point that he wanted to meet up. At that point we set up and took him into custody."
Sheriff Rowe says this arrest won't drastically change Sheriff's Office policy, but it does make you step back and review everything.
"Individuals, unless their job duty specifically requires it, are not to engage in personal activity when they're on duty," said Sheriff Rowe. The difficulty in a situation like this is there's no way to detect it in advance. All we can continue to do is strive to be vigilant if this type of behavior or conduct presents itself. Obviously it's one of those things we stop and pause and review to see if there's anything we could've done differently."
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