Six juveniles — two in Baton Rouge and four in New Orleans — were rescued and more than 70 people were arrested in Louisiana during a recent FBI sting targeting children for prostitution with East Baton Rouge Parish authorities using two websites in the operation.
“Child prostitution remains a persistent threat to children across America,” said Ron Hosko, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “This operation serves as a reminder that these abhorrent crimes can happen anywhere, and the FBI remains committed to stopping this cycle of victimization and holding the criminals who profit from this exploitation accountable.”
Operation Cross Country VII, a three-day action to combat commercial child sex trafficking, resulted in 105 children being recovered and 150 “pimps” arrested across the United States. Since 2003, Operation Cross Country, part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative, has resulted in rescues of 2,700 children.
According to affidavits of probable cause for the suspects, all but one were found using the websites backpage.com and cityvibe.com. Undercover agents would arrange to meet the people and negotiate a price in exchange for sex or other services.
Law enforcement officials have used the websites to set up prostitution stings.
“It does assist in that regard,” East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said Monday. “It is a way that we have identified people in this sting and it is a tool that we use and will continue to use.”
Moore said he is especially happy to see the children who were lured to prostitution taken off the street. “The penalties they pay in the long run can never match that money” that they think they can make in prostitution, he said.
FBI agents worked with police, sheriff’s offices and the Louisiana State Police in addition to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to conduct the operation.
During the sting operation, 19 adults — 16 prostitutes, 2 “johns” and one pimp — were arrested and booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison, according to FBI records.
Two women —Shonte Sifford, 21, no address given, of Houston; and Brittany Henley, 24, no address given, of Baton Rouge — were issued misdemeanor summons as part of the operation, but FBI records do not show the reasons for their summonses.
The two juveniles arrested in Baton Rouge, both 17 years old, were from Baton Rouge and Lubbock, Texas. In New Orleans, 17 adults were arrested, according to the FBI.
The following people were arrested on counts of prostitution or promoting prostitution in Baton Rouge as part of the nationwide, multi-agency operation:
- Dakayla Bailey, 23, 3579 Victoria Drive, Lot 23, Baton Rouge, prostitution.
- Erika Beaver, 24, 5638 Beech St., Baton Rouge, second-offense prostitution.
- Stacey Carter, 19, 3989 Lipscomb Cove, Memphis, Tenn., prostitution.
- Kimberly A. Chachere, 25, 1212 Grand Plaza, Apt. 1302, Houston, prostitution.
- Anthony Cooper, 36, 5011 Ridgeway St., Houston, promoting prostitution.
- Kayla David, 30, 4720 Thomas Road, Baton Rouge, prostitution and possession of firearm by a convicted felon.
- Chrystal Garcia, 31, 7116 Culmore, Houston, prostitution and possession with intent to distribute schedule IV drugs.
- Vannesha S. Gardner, 26, 22811 Ford Road, Trailer 21, Porter, Texas, prostitution.
- Jilana Harmon, 25, 1976 Elkmont Road, Memphis, Tenn., second-offense prostitution.
- Alisha Lewis, 29, 6619 LBJ Drive, Jackson, Miss., second-offense prostitution.
- Jordan Bradley Lewis, 24, 3417 W. Country Club Drive, Irvin, Texas, attempted prostitution by massage and intentional exposure to the AIDS virus.
- Jade Martin, 31, 6822 Dusty Dawn Drive, Houston, second-offense prostitution.
- Quotisha Ondralet Offord, 32, 6630 Siegen Lane, Apt. 271, Baton Rouge, prostitution, illegal carrying of weapons and illegal possession of a stolen firearm.
- Amber Ramos, 25, 5429 47th St., Lubbock, Texas, prostitution.
- Crystal Russell, 29, 12930 Joliet St., Houston, prostitution.
- Melissa Taylor, 23, last known address according to court records of 268 East Drive, Baton Rouge, prostitution.
- Jacqualynne Patryce Wright, 23, 8739 Edinburgh, Apt. C, New Orleans, attempted prostitution by massage.
FBI officials did not provided the names of the johns who were arrested in Baton Rouge.
In addition to New Orleans and Baton Rouge, stings were held in Alexandria, Shreveport and Lake Charles, Denver, Detroit, Milwaukee, San Francisco, Oklahoma City, Okla., Detroit, Atlanta and Jackson, Miss.