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The FBI recognized two members of the Muleshoe Police Department for their contribution to the Violent Crimes Against Children Program at a reception Wednesday, Feb. 23. Pictured are Lt. Leonel Aviles, City Manager Ramon Sanchez, Lt. Benny Parker, now Muleshoe Chief of Police, and City Council member Lupe Mendoza.

Lt. Leonel Aviles and Lt. Benny Parker, now Muleshoe Chief of Police, were honored by the FBI at a reception Wednesday, Feb. 23, for their contribution to the Violent Crimes Against Children Program.

Lt. Leonel Aviles and Lt. Benny Parker, now Muleshoe Chief of Police, were recognized by the FBI at a reception in Lubbock on Wednesday, Feb. 23, for their efforts in solving a kidnapping and sexual assault crime.

In a letter, Matthew J. DeSarno, Special Agent in Charge, FBI, Dallas Division, said, “In late 2018, the Muleshoe Police Department requested FBI assistance on a case involving the subject Rene Gloria, who was suspected of kidnapping two minor children and sexually assaulting one of the victims.

“MPD Lieutenant Leonel Aviles played an essential part in locating the minor sexual assault survivor, and then transported the children to a medical center for evaluation. Lieutenant Aviles subsequently scheduled a forensic interview of the victims. MPD Lieutenant Benny Parker and Lieutenant Aviles spent a great deal of time working on their local investigation concurrent with a federal investigation by the FBI.

“Lieutenants Parker and Aviles provided the FBI with critical information that led to the arrest and detention of Gloria who was charged with a federal count of Attempted Enticement of a Minor.

“On March 20, 2019, a Lubbock Federal Grand Jury also charged Gloria with two counts of Kidnapping, one count of Enticement of a Minor and one count of Cyber Stalking. Gloria pled guilty to kidnapping in April 2019 and was sentenced to 396 months in federal prison followed by a 5-year term of supervised release.

“Lieutenants Parker and Aviles worked this investigation in the most professional manner. Were it not for their dedication and determination, this case could not have transitioned from a local to a federal investigation as smoothly as it did. The Muleshoe Police Department’s desire for justice was incredibly beneficial to the successful prosecution of this case.”

More than 80 crimes against children cases were prosecuted in the West Texas area from 2019- 2021, according to an FBI press release. The 18 investigations led to combined results of more than 270 years in federal prison and three life sentences.

The FBI recognized 15 West Texas law enforcement agencies for their efforts in combating crimes against children. They are: Brownfield Police Department; Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations; Hockley County Sheriff’s Office; Levelland Police Department; Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office; Lubbock Police Department; Muleshoe Police Department; New Deal Police Department; Plainview Police Department; Shallowater Police Department; Slaton Police Department; Snyder Police Department; Texas Department of Public Safety; Tulia Police Department; and U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Texas.

“Each department should be commended for their dedication to removing individuals from our society who prey on children,” DeSarno said. “Thousands of children become victims of crime every year, and we must continue to use our combined law enforcement resources to seek justice for victims, their families and other vulnerable members of our community.”

Gail M. Williams

Muleshoe Journal Correspondent

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