Polk deputies arrest 61 in undercover operation

December 9th, 2014 by Staff

Polk deputies charged a total of 61 suspects during an undercover sting targeting prostitution and human trafficking.

(BTLS Staff Report) BARTOW – Authorities in Polk County on Monday announced the arrests of 61 people on a variety of charges stemming from a four-day undercover sting targeting on-line ads for prostitution.

The operation began and December 4 and wrapped up on Sunday. The suspects charged range in age from 18-68. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd says prostitution spawns other criminal enterprises and his deputies will do whatever it takes.

“Human trafficking is a crime and we have found a direct nexus between prostitution and human trafficking,” Judd explained during a news conference on Monday. “We combat this crime by undercover investigations. Whether it is on the street or online, prostitution and the crimes it attempts to disguise is illegal and we will continue to investigate and arrest those involved.”
Among those arrested in the four-day operation a suspect who brought a three-year-old child to the rendezvous, another man who said he’s hooked up with over 100 girls through social media and a husband and wife team looking for action.

“We’ve seen first-hand the negative social costs of how prostitution hurts families, children and communities,” Judd added. “More often than not, there is a high correlation between other crimes and prostitution. We see repeat criminal offenders with criminal arrest histories to include illegal drugs, violent crime and property crime and these criminals engage in sex for money.”

Of those snared by the undercover operation 13 said they were married; 11 told detectives they were on public assistance; four that brought prostitutes with them; 26 prostitutes and 31 looking for love in all the wrong places.

The suspects arrested had a total of 332 previous felony, misdemeanor and failure to appear in court charges.

Among the notable scenarios uncovered during the sting:

- Jazmin Alvelo and Glenda Maldonado of Tampa who went looking for sex with a toddler in the backseat. Alvelo was charged with drug possession, violation of probation and aiding and abetting someone to commit prostitution. Maldonado was charged with soliciting for lewdness and drug possession.

- A professional golfer named Scott Yates. He is listed on the PGA site as an instructor and he told investigators that he is employed at the Big Cypress Golf & Country Club in Windermere. Yates bragged that he had engaged in sex with over 100 women he met through social media sites.

- The oldest suspect was 68-year-old John Cokes of Valrico who chastised a ‘female prostitute,’ for working her craft because ‘you’ll get arrested in Polk County.’

- Gary Eulo told detectives he had been out of work for five months and was on government assistance. He recently procured a job that pays $130,000 a year but had yet to cancel his assistance.

- Guy Harrell of Mulberry arrived at the undercover location in time to see an arrest in progress. The undercover detectives told Harrell the man in cuffs was her boyfriend and asked if he could come back. He did and upon his arrest he stated ‘he knew about the undercover operations and was just curious.’

- Ellen Schoenherr negotiated “$600 for a dance,” and “$100 for sex.” She told detectives she was previously in school in Michigan living in a dorm when a Florida friend talked her into leaving school and heading to the Sunshine State. The suspect said she was working as a ‘stripper’ at several Bay area clubs but had recently started doing ‘private dance parties’ for extra cash.

- Adrian Hernandez, an employee of the City of Bartow, negotiated to meet a ‘prostitute’ for sex in exchange for $75. When he arrived he offered to pay instead with a $30 winning scratch-off lottery ticket. He also had in his possession a ‘meth pipe.’

- Mete Girit posted an advertisement offering ‘male escort services.’ He was arrested after offering to perform a sex act in exchange for $200. A search of his vehicle turned up a badge from the Baltimore Police Dept. Girit told detectives he retired from BPD after injuring his knee in 2009.

And one suspect admitted to being HIV positive.

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