- Associated Press - Thursday, August 13, 2020

KILLEEN, Texas (AP) - Central Texas authorities say they’ve cracked a child prostitution ring involving nine men, including three soldiers.

Two Fort Hood soldiers and one from Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio are among the nine suspects netted in their investigation, Killeen police said.

The nine made agreements involving money, drugs and alcohol on various social media platforms for sex acts with girls aged 15 and 16, police spokeswoman Ofelia Miramontez said. The “girls” turned out to be undercover officers and no children were jeopardized by the operation, she said.

Seven suspects, including the Fort Hood soldiers, were arrested on felony child prostitution charges. The other two, including the Fort Sam Houston soldier, were charged with misdemeanor prostitution.

A team of independent investigators has been created to determine whether leadership failures at Fort Hood contributed to the murder of a soldier earlier this year, and several other deaths. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy has acknowledged that there have been other incidents of violence that could point to broader problems.

Meantime, the planned transfer of the Fort Hood commander to Fort Bliss to assume command of a division has been postponed.

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