APD charging group of ‘vigilantes’ targeting suspected child predators | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

Albuquerque police are charging four people who they say formed a vigilante group to go after suspected child predators.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque police are charging four people who they say formed a vigilante group to go after suspected child predators. APD officers said they lured a man to a specific location and then confronted him, while taking video.

All four people are facing three charges centered around false imprisonment, two are felonies. They’re in trouble for trapping the man and not allowing him to leave the area.

In a criminal complaint, Albuquerque police described them as a vigilante group of four.

Officers said they lured the man to a southwest Albuquerque apartment complex. Police said they have the video the group took of the encounter, and in it, they direct the man to park, and they confront him when he gets out of his vehicle, accusing him of trying to meet a 15-year-old boy for sex.

Police said when the man tries to leave, they block his path, and they don’t let him get back in his car. They get into a heated argument and shove each other.

Officers said the man begs the group to let him go, but they only do so after forcing him to put on a shirt and then read the words on it, which are, “I came here to meet an underage child and all I got was this lousy shirt.”

The man they allegedly lured is not facing charges.

APD said the group’s leader is 19-year-old Santiago Sanchez. The other three who were helping him are Dominic Martinez, Santiago Tafoya and Marcos Duran.

Martinez had a first appearance in court Thursday. A judge released him.

The other three have warrants out for them, but online records show officers have not arrested them.

APD officers said they have known about this group and have warned them that what they’re doing is illegal.

“The law only allows law enforcement to pose as underage minors for the purpose of doing these types of investigations,” APD Commander Kyle Hartsock said. “All you’ve done is alert them to these tactics, and it’s a case that can never be prosecuted. These groups honestly just create dangerous situations. Someone’s going to get hurt eventually.”

There are many ways to report possible child predators. People can call Albuquerque police or contact the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

APD said its specialized unit is working every day to catch child predators in Albuquerque, and they have arrested multiple people this year.

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