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Monday, July 7, 2008

Deputy One Of 18 Arrested In Prostitution Sting

Detroit, MI - During a two-day countywide sting, undercover Wayne County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested 15 women who advertise themselves on the Internet as “escorts” but actually were working as prostitutes, Sheriff Warren C. Evans announced. The women, along with two suspected pimps and one john arrived at various hotels in Romulus, Taylor, Dearborn Heights and Northville. “We had been receiving complaints recently about women advertising online as “escorts” to cover their real jobs as Prostitutes,” Evans said. “It’s important that we do this kind of enforcement because we know prostitution often leads to other crimes, such as robberies and often involves illegal drug use.” While many of these women operate independently, some are under the control of pimps, who often abuse their prostitutes. Evans said the enforcement took place on Thursday & Friday night after several weeks of investigation. Officers identified the women as escorts on Craig’s List on the Internet. Male undercover officers contacted them via cell phone and arranged meetings. At those meetings, and sometimes during the preliminary cell phone conversations, the UC officers successfully negotiated sexual services for money. Most would only talk “business” face-to-face, Evans said. One woman, however, actually advertised sex for money on her web page. “It is interesting to note that ALL of the women who showed up to the hotels as “escorts” ended up offering to provide sex for money,” Evans said. “None of them indicated they were “legitimate” escorts that would not engage in that type of activity.” The prices the women quoted ranged from $60 for 15 minutes to up to $300 for an hour. In some cases, two women arrived together for the same encounter. The women all are expected to be arraigned on misdemeanor charges. Deputies also arrested two men on Friday night who are suspected of being one of the women’s pimps. In the vehicle the men arrived in, officers found a laptop computer, which was seized as possible evidence. The men are expected to be arraigned Monday on charges of Pandering, which is a four year felony.

One customer that was seeking the services of one of the escorts on Thursday night turned out to be an off-duty Wayne County Sheriff’s Deputy assigned to the jail. He was cited for solicitation. In reality, he had been making the arrangements with an undercover female deputy that answered the escort’s phone after deputies arrested the escort. The off-duty officer was issued an appearance ticket for the misdemeanor ordinance violation and deputies impounded his vehicle. The off-duty officer has had his police powers temporarily removed and is now subject to departmental discipline. “Clearly, people from all walks of life engage in this type of activity,” Evans said. “It is always disappointing when you catch one of our own, but he certainly will be treated no differently than anyone else we cite for the same offense.” STATISTICAL TOTALS 18 total arrests • 15 prostitution -- • 2 pandering -- • 1 citation for accosting and soliciting ----Drugs seized -- • 4 grams of Heroin -- • 16.5 grams of Marijuana -- Electronic devices -- • 28 cellular phones -- • 3 laptop computers -- • 1 camera -- Currency seized: $3,687.00 U.S. Currency -- 10 vehicles were seized and impounded under the Nuisance Abatement Program.

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