Local sting operation ends with arrest of Hobbs man

CNJ staff photo: Sharna Johnson Curry County Sheriff’s Deputy Sandy Loomis leads Douglas Edens, 48, to a waiting vehicle. Edens was arrested at North Plains Mall Wednesday when he to Clovis from Hobbs to meet what he thought was a 13-year-old girl.

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

A Hobbs man armed with Viagra and a cooler full of beer came to Clovis on Wednesday to meet a 13-year-old girl, officials said. Instead, he was arrested by investigators with the Curry County Sheriff’s Office.

As sheriff’s deputies led him handcuffed to a waiting vehicle outside North Plains Mall, Douglas Edens’ face was emotionless.

Edens, 48, a power plant operator, was arrested around noon in an undercover sting operation when he arrived to meet what he believed was a 13-year-old girl he had been chatting with online, Sheriff Matt Murray said.

Edens is being held at the Curry County Adult Detention Center on a $20,000 bond, jail officials said.

He is charged with two, second-degree felony counts of child solicitation by electronic device and faces up to 18 years imprisonment if convicted, District Attorney Matt Chandler said.

Edens went into the mall and made a call from a pay phone, telling the girl he had arrived and to meet him outside. As he walked out of the mall, he was swarmed by law enforcement and arrested without incident, sheriff’s officials said.

Investigators said Edens told them on the drive to Clovis he changed his mind about having a rendezvous with the girl but decided to tell her face to face and “be a man about it.”

Edens began chatting with the decoy girl May 30, investigators said. He was pressing for a meeting with her and wanted her to meet him wearing a miniskirt, they said.

During online conversations, investigators said Edens told the girl he wanted to have sex with her. He told her he was bringing beer because he likes to drink it and offered to give her a taste.

Investigators said a search of Edens’ pickup truck revealed a handgun and a prescription bottle of Viagra, an erectile dysfunction medication.

The prescription was filled Tuesday and one of the six pills was missing from the bottle, sheriff’s investigators said.

According to sheriff’s officials, Hobbs police served search warrants at Edens’ home Wednesday and seized three computers, 12 CDs and two jump drives. The electronic items will be analyzed for evidence.

Edens is the third arrested in four months as part of an initiative by the sheriff’s department to curb Internet predation of children in the area.

“In my opinion the more arrests we make, the more people are going to be aware that we’re doing something about it and the predators of the world are going to look somewhere else,” Murray said.