Travis County arrest 47 in initiative in Wells Branch

- The Travis County Sheriff's Office is in the midst of a six-week operation to reduce crime in the community of Wells Branch. So far, they’ve made 47 arrests.

Travis County sheriff's deputies put a man into handcuffs during a prostitution sting. The man, captured on video by the sheriff's office, is one of 17 taken to jail after responding to an online advertisement for illicit services. The sting is a part of a six-week initiative to reduce crime in the community of Wells Branch.

"We had received complaints through our office. Pflugerville police had received complaints from their office and the commissioners were receiving complaints,” said Captain Craig Smith.

Captain Craig Smith said some of those complaints lead them to the Green Leaf Spa on West Pecan Street. After making two undercover visits to the spa, deputies arrested two employees, shut down the business and seized money.

To target another prevalent crime, deputies set their sights on gas stations.

"Credit card skimming is such a problem in Travis County I'm encouraging everybody to not use their credit cards at the gas pump,” said Smith.

Smith said while no one has been caught installing a skimmer the investigation has uncovered other fraudulent activity.

"Through our surveillance we're noticing people are going up to buy fuel and while we're doing surveillance they're using three, four and five different credit cards and so that's when we move in and identify them and try and make arrests,” said Smith.

One of those arrests was that of Yiandy Castillo-Leyva. Deputies said he was found with six cloned cards bearing a woman's name. 

It seems one thing has led to another over and over again for the deputies.

"This is already beginning to be a lot bigger than I thought it would be,” said Smith.

Smith said within the first three weeks deputies have made 47 arrests and they have three more weeks to go. 

Narcotics trouble is also on the to-do list. He said a large amount of cash has been recovered.

And the skimming issues are showing positive progress.

"We do know that the amount of credit cards that have been skimmed that have been reported to us has gone down since this initiative started and so I hope that some of the arrests we're making are having a significant impact on that,” said Smith.

Smith said deputies will continue to work in partnership with other Central Texas agencies and reveal all of their success during a community meeting at the Wells Branch Community Center on November 28th at 7 p.m. The sheriff will be there to discuss the initiative.

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