SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – An undercover sting helped catch a wanted sex offender on the run, but it wasn’t police organizing it.
It happened in Santa Fe when the sex offender told a man about his past with underage girls. That didn’t sit well with the man, so he took matters into his own hands.
“I met him on a Facebook ride share group that I’m in,” says who wished not to be identified.
The man says he met Ashton Mullens last week at an Auto Zone in Santa Fe. The two were working on man’s van when Mullens shared too much information.
“He admitted to me that he was wanted out of Ohio for sexual predatory stuff,” says a man who wished not to be identified.
The following day, the man asked a friend in Dallas, TX for help.
“Make this fake account to lure this guy into a trap to see if he would take the bait,” says Joslynn Dodd.
Dodd posed as a 14-year-old and started a conversation with Mullens, who told her his name was Chase. Screenshots show Mullens knew she was underage.
He tells her younger girls are his type. That’s when the conversation quickly turned sexual.
“In the first part of our conversation, he was like, I’m going to keep it PG. Not even five to six messages later it was like, oh I’m going to do this to you,” says Dodd.
Eventually, Mullens agreed to meet Dodd.
“He wound up here at McDonald’s expecting to meet a 14-year-old,” says the man who wished not to be identified.
That’s when the man called Santa Fe Police. Mullens was arrested for failing to register as a sex offender.
He’s been wanted out of Ohio for at least two years. While the man led police to Mullens, police do not condone that behavior.
“Notify our special victims unit and we then could’ve taken this investigation from the start,” says Deputy Chief Paul Joye.
Online records show Mullens has since been released from jail.
“Disgusted. I mean he fell for a fake 14-year-old. What’s he going to do if it’s a real one?” says the man who wished not to be identified.
It’s been three days since Mullens has been released from jail, and he is still not registered as a sex offender here in New Mexico. He is expected back in court next month.
Santa Fe Police say the case is still under investigation to see if Mullens could face additional charges regarding his contact with Dodd, posing as a minor.