Authorities have dropped charges against a University of New Mexico professor suspected of helping run a prostitution website. But he could still face prosecution.
F. Chris Garcia, a retired political science professor and the former president of UNM, was arrested in June for his alleged role in a site called "Southwest Companions." According to the AP, another professor named David Flory ran the site, which "featured 'weather reports' about police vice stings; physical descriptions and cell phone numbers of undercover police to help members avoid arrest; training videos on what to do if members were busted; and detailed information on the prostitutes themselves, including prices and star performance rankings from other members." Garcia, using the handle "BurquePops," allegedly acted as moderator and ran the site's "Hunt Club," which recruited new prostitutes. Police say they've identified 20 women he personally brought on board.
Now, according to KOB.com, prosecutors have dropped charges against Garcia. But this is really a maneuver to gain time — prosecutors have to bring him before a grand jury within 60 days of filing charges, and they want more time to investigate. They'll be able to re-file later on. On the one hand, it's easy to feel sorry for Garcia. He's been banned from the UNM campus, his reputation is ruined, and he could face criminal charges, all for something he did on his own time that had no connection to the University, and that some might see as victimless. But then there's this, from the AP: "Police said racketeering and human trafficking charges were possible depending on what evidence might be uncovered." Prosecutors may be hoping that the added time will allow them to nail Garcia on trafficking charges. And if that happens, his crimes won't look victimless anymore.
Prostitution Charges Dropped Against Ex-UNM Prez [KOB.com]
Former University Of New Mexico President F. Chris Garcia Arrested In Prostitution Sting [AP, via Deseret News]