17 arrested in prostitution sting

By Krystal Allan - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A joint effort among coast law enforcement ended with seventeen men and women arrested for agreeing to perform sexual acts on undercover officers for money.

"With all the agencies coming together we've proved our point that we're not going to tolerate this," says Captain John Miller, Biloxi Police Department.

After months of independent investigative work, law enforcement agencies across the coast teamed up to take on prostitution.

"Our focus was to determine who was behind this activity and what strategies we could put in place in the future to help combat these activities going on in the city," says Captain Keith Davis, D'Iberville Police.

From 7 p.m. Thursday night until about 1 a.m. Friday morning, officers made the arrests. They found the men and women using a variety of methods to make contact with clients.

"One of our cases last night involved a young lady from the Jackson, Mississippi, area who was utilizing the Craig's list network in the Gulf Coast area," says Davis.

"These escort service operators come up with different gimmicks everything from bikini girls cleaning houses to dating services. We're aware of those, and we're going to stay ahead of the game," says Miller.

Of those arrested, 16 were involved with escort services.

"The next direction we're going is to target the Johns," says Miller.

Commander Curtis Spiers of the Jackson County Narcotics Task Force says such sting operations will aid them in combating other crimes along the coast in the future.

"One thing leads to another, and it can create a snowball effect with cooperation that can ultimately lead us to making a dent in not only the prostitution but illegal activity along the Mississippi Gulf Coast."

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