Over 40 arrested in Polk County undercover prostitution sting

August 23rd, 2010 by Staff

BARTOW, Fla. – The Polk County Sheriff’s Department arrested 42 people in a prostitution sting that targeted on line ads that appeared on websites such as Craig’s List and Backpage.com.

The undercover investigation began on Wednesday when detectives started negotiating online or by phone with the suspects. The suspects traveled from all over central Florida and from states such as Oklahoma, Maryland, Indiana and North Carolina for purposes of prostitution.

Detectives offered sex acts ranging from oral sex to intercourse in exchange for $200-$400 in cash.

Sheriff Grady Judd said that detectives saw an infant, a pregnant woman, a juvenile, pimps and even a mother who was dropped off by her son. He said there were even offers of sex so one person could buy a tank of gas.

Judd said that the ads that appeared on the online sites clearly promoted prostitution, obscenity and irresponsible behavior by allowing unedited ads and explicit images to be posted to the websites.

“Prostitution is illegal and those who commit or who derive proceeds from this crime can expect to go to jail,” said Sheriff Judd.

Suspects were charged with either soliciting another for prostitution, deriving proceeds from prostitution or aiding and abetting prostitution. Additional charges ranged from drug possession, disorderly conduct and violation of probation.

Additional details of the undercover sting will be released by the sheriff on Monday afternoon.

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