The felony human trafficking charges filed against a West Texas man in late November were dismissed “without prejudice” last week in Hobbs Magistrate Court.
Lubbock resident Anthony Edric Thomas, 47, was arrested Dec. 12 by the Lea County Sheriff’s Department on a warrant for two counts of human trafficking, a third-degree felony. The Hobbs Police Department filed the criminal complaint on Nov. 30, which alleged Thomas brought a Texas woman to Hobbs for prostitution at a hotel.
As earlier reported, Hobbs police officers responded Nov. 16, around 12:30 p.m., to a hotel located at the 500 block of North Marland for a welfare check. The complaint stated that a man contacted police dispatch to report his friend was being held against her will at the hotel. At the scene, officers located the victim who told police she traveled to Hobbs with Thomas and his girlfriend on two occasions in November. During the first visit, Thomas allegedly threatened to contact his “cartel friends,” unless the victim had sex with two male clients. The victim said she messaged her friend on the second visit to Hobbs and police arrived.
“In both times we went to preliminary hearing in that case, there seemed to be difficulty getting the victim to court to testify,” Kirk Chavez, Thomas’ public defender, stated Monday. “Mr. Thomas always maintained, and will continue to maintain his innocence. I do not know why the victim was not present to testify.”
Public defender Julie Ball was co-counsel on the case. According to Chavez, Hobbs Magistrate Judge Willie Henry ordered during a preliminary hearing that the case would be dismissed at the next hearing if the victim was not present. New Mexico court records indicate the charges were dismissed “nolle prosequi” Feb. 9 by the prosecutor and Thomas had not entered a plea.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Lisa Kuykendall, who represented the Fifth Judicial District Attorney’s Office, could not be reached for comment before presstime Monday.
Kelly Farrell can be reached at 391-5437 or firstname.lastname@example.org