New Orleans police break up alleged prostitution ring

Police said they broke up a prostitution ring after detectives arranged to meet a woman for sex Tuesday at a Central Business District hotel.

Police responded to an online ad offering sexual services and arranged to meet 19-year-old Alexis Keener at a hotel in the 100 block of St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans Police Department spokeswoman Remi Braden said in a news release.

Once the detective met Keener in a room in the hotel, Keener called another woman for condoms.

When that woman got to the room, four detectives arrested her. Police did not identify her, and she was not booked.

Braden said the woman began to give a statement to police about her involvement in a prostitution ring.

Police found that the room the women were going to work out of was one of three rented by Katrina Walls, 24.

Police detained and questioned Walls when she arrived at the room. Eddie Sowells, 23, picked up Keener and the other 19-year-old woman in Waco, Texas, police said.

Braden said that Sowells brought the women to New Orleans specifically for prostitution purposes. The alleged arrangement was that Sowells would keep 50 percent of the money from each customer the women saw, Braden said.

In another room, police found Sowells and 19-year-old Taylor Courtney. Both were told they were under investigation for violation of prostitution laws and were asked to turn over any weapons they had.

Courtney gave police an unloaded handgun that was found to have been stolen in Texas, Braden said.

Sowells was booked with pandering, possession of stolen property and human trafficking.

Courtney was booked with possession of stolen property. Keener was booked with prostitution, and Walls was booked with promoting prostitution and letting premises for prostitution.

“The perpetrators in human trafficking cases are reprehensible, and the people they prey on to work for them are victims who are usually struggling in life and simply looking for a way to survive,” Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas said in a prepared statement.