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State Police officer arrested on child porn charges

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Ricky Romero Jr. 

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

A New Mexico State Police patrolman was arrested Wednesday after allegedly receiving nude photos of a 15-year-old girl through Facebook messenger on multiple occasions. 

Ricky Romero Jr., 24, of Roswell, was arrested without incident after he turned himself over to the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Mike Herrington said shortly after the arrest.

Romero is charged on five counts of sexual exploitation of children and one count of child solicitation by electronic device, Herrington said. Romero — who has worked for the State Police in Eddy County for about two years — is being held at the Chaves County Detention Center in lieu of a $250,000 bond.

Raul Valderaz, a detective with the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office investigating and an investigator on the case, said the girl’s mother contacted the Sheriff’s Office after discovering the pictures of her daughter in a Facebook instant message to Romero. 

“The mother, actually, she received a message from Mr. Romero and observed nude photographs of her child in the message thread,” Valderaz said.

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Romero never met the girl in person, he added.

An investigation was launched by the Sheriff’s Office March 5 into the claims, Valderaz said. 

A press release from the New Mexico State Police said upon learning of the investigation by the Sheriff’s Office, Romero was placed on paid administrative leave and an internal investigation was launched and that the New Mexico State Police have fully cooperated with the Sheriff’s Office’s investigation.

In addition to criminal charges, Romero faces discipline, including up to termination, according to the release.

Herrington, who said he had met Romero before, said the crime came as a shock, but the way it is being handled shows no one is above the law.

“It is something we have to do and one of the messages we want to send is no matter (if you are) law enforcement or not, if you commit a crime, you are going to have to pay the consequences just like everybody else,” he said.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.  

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