Prostitution ring busted in small town community
POSTED: Monday, March 26, 2012 - 1:30pm
UPDATED: Monday, March 26, 2012 - 5:16pm
WALKER, LA (NBC33) — Walker Police, along with Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Deputies and Louisiana State Troopers arrested three women Friday, March 23, for solicitation of prostitution in a prostitution sting operation, according to Walker Police Department Public Information Officer, Captain John Sharp.
The operation was planned after Walker Police received a complaint of prostitution activity.
“This type of complaint is unusual for our Department,” Walker Police Chief Hunter Grimes stated. “We were told that prostitutes were advertising their services on the internet. When we checked it out, we were surprised at what we found.”
What Walker Police found were pages of internet ads posted by people offering escort services and dating services.
“Once you ‘click’ on one of these advertisements for additional information, it is very apparent that they are offering sexual services for a fee,” Grimes explained. “The ads were posted by people claiming to be in Baton Rouge, but many of the ads indicated that traveling to Livingston Parish was not a problem.”
Walker Police Detective Kenath Black developed the “sting” plan to address the prostitution complaint. Walker Police also contacted the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office and Louisiana State Police for assistance.
According to Chief Grimes, “we wanted to involve these two agencies in this operation, since prostitution is an issue that concerns the entire Parish.” Walker Officers, LPSO deputies and State Troopers set up the sting operation at an undisclosed location. Officers then began contacting the internet advertisers in an effect to set up a “date.”
It wasn’t long before the officers had their first “date” of the night. “The first woman that agreed to meet with our undercover officer happened to already be in the area, on another ‘date,’ and arrived within about 30 minutes of our phone call” Grimes said. “After monitoring the discussion between the suspect and our undercover officer and determining that the required elements of solicitation for prostitution were met, officers arrested the suspect.” Over the next two hours, two more women were arrested for prostitution.
Arrested for solicitation of prostitution were Liberty Michelli, 35, of Denham Springs, Ashley Louise Jolivette, 23, of Baton Rouge and Deanna Marie Fortner, 20, of Denham Springs, according to Captain Sharp.
“Ms. Michelli and Ms. Jolivette were issued misdemeanor summonses and released. They will be tried on the charges at a later date. If convicted, both women face fines of up to $500.00 and/or a jail sentence of up to six months. Ms. Fortner was found to have outstanding warrants for unauthorized use of a movable and issuing worthless checks and was arrested and booked into the Livingston Parish Detention Center where she was released after posting a $1,030 bond.”
“It is disturbing to learn that a crime generally thought of as a ‘big city’ problem is something we now have to deal with in Livingston Parish,” Grimes observed. “Effectively addressing these types of crimes requires a commitment of manpower, equipment and funding, but we are not going to allow this kind of activity to occur. We want to send a clear message to people who engage in this type of criminal enterprise that they are not welcome in Walker.”