Released child trafficker back in jail

by Sahar Chmais
Daniel Mateos Smith was arrested twice in February and May – once for harboring a runaway child and, after his release, he was arrested for trafficking and sexually engaging with that minor.
Justice of the Peace Judge Beth Smith put out an arrest warrant after the police found Daniel Smith, a 48-year-old man, with the 15-year-old who exhibited “strange” behavior and was dancing in front of Daniel Smith’s vehicle.
One month after Daniel Smith’s arrest, Court at Law Judge Millie Thompson reduced the bond severity and amount and issued a $3,000 Personal Recognizance bail, which means he would not have to pay bail and signs a written promise to appear in court as required.
“It’s unbelievable that he got out of jail,” Beth Smith said after hearing that Daniel Smith was released.
Daniel Smith was found with the 15-year old girl in Buda on Feb. 22 and was arrested for harboring a runaway child. An Austin Police Department report from an earlier incident, which was received by a Hays County Sheriff’s Office  detective on Feb. 23, showed the two were seen together leaving a dark secluded lot. When the APD officer pulled them over, he found the victim wearing only a shirt and pink underwear and Daniel Smith with his pants around his ankles. Also found was 3.7 grams of methamphetamines and a .22 caliber handgun. Daniel Smith was arrested for possession of a firearm by a felon. Daniel Smith also has a long criminal record in Travis County.
The Hays County detective went into Smith’s vehicle after receiving a search warrant on March 1 and found a plastic bag with condoms, vaseline, watches, a phone charger cord and key chains. In the suspect’s backseat, there was evidence of the victim and suspect living together in the car.
The detective found clothing, bedding, personal hygiene items, used and unused tampons, food, several pairs of women’s underwear soiled with biological fluids and several sexual devices.
 Originally, a $5,000 cash or surety bail was set by Judge Magistrate Benjamin Moore. Then on March 26, Thompson set a $3,000 Personal Recognizance bond.
When setting bond, the magistrate should look at the seriousness of the crime, the suspect’s criminal history, risk to self, others and the community and sets an amount possible to assure presence in court, Beth Smith explained.
In April, the 15-year-old victim’s phone was retrieved from her mother. Video footage showed the victim engaging in drug use. More footage showed her describing some parts of their sexual relationship. The suspect is also seen in some videos in a room with the victim or lying in bed next to her.
After Daniel Smith’s arrest, the victim stated that she takes opiates regularly and she had taken methamphetamines earlier in the day. But she said she did not have a sexual relationship with Daniel Smith.
Bail set by Moore for Daniel Smith states that he cannot be in contact with the victim and he cannot go within 300 feet of her.
But after his release on March 26, there was evidence to show that the two were once again in contact, according to the detective’s report. For example, there were two videos with them together with a timestamp of April 13 and April 19.
On May 4, Daniel Smith was arrested for trafficking a child and conducting sexual acts. A new cash or surety bond was set by Judge Matt Burns for $200,000.

 

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Sahar Chmais holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. She has been covering cities in Hays County for one year, touching on residents' struggles and successes, city issues, COVID-19 and more. Prior to reporting on the local spectrum, Sahar reported for a national news organization, covering gun violence. Sahar enjoys working as a local reporter because she gets to work with real people and their stories.

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