Internet prostitution operation busted - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Internet prostitution operation busted

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By Howard Ballou  - bio | email | twitter

 JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - It's called the world's oldest profession, but there is a new twist on how prostitutes ply their trade in Jackson.

It's the Internet, but it didn't take long for law enforcement to catch on and crack down on two high-tech houses of prostitution.

Hinds County Sheriff's Department investigators say one of them masqueraded as a strip club. WLBT went with deputies on an eye opening  sting operation. 

27-year-old Amanda Howard is nearly 5-months pregnant. Hinds County Sheriff's investigators say she is also a prostitute and madam who operates out of a house on 1218 Langley Street in Jackson.

In hidden camera video, you can see Howard preparing for sex with a "john" or customer, until she hears a knock on the door.

It's the Hinds County Sheriff's Department's Narcotics and Street Crimes Unit and Howard's house is the first stop on their series of undercover sting operations.

A deputy said to Howard, "Almost 5 months pregnant, prostituting out of this house." 

She replied, "Yes sir". when the deputy tells her, "You know you gonna go to jail, right?" 

Major Nick Clark, of the Hinds County Sheriff's Department's Narcotics and Street Crimes Unit said, "This is a location that the sheriff's department is familiar with. We've been here on more than one occasion. The neighborhood watch folks have contacted us complaining about prostitution and drug activity at this location." 

Also arrested are 28-year-old Patrice Conner, charged with prostitution and 27-year-old Marcus Allen, charged with procuring prostitution. He's on probation for drug charges; only six months out of jail. 

Lieutenant Jeffrey Scott, spokesman for the Hinds County Sheriff's Department, participated in the sting.

Scott said, "Ok, when I first started in law enforcement, prostitution was done the old fashion way. It was done on street corners. Well now, you fast forward to the 21st century and it's done online." 

That's right, online. Howard and Conner used a webpage to advertise their services. They called themselves "Chocolate Thunder and Vanilla." 

Lieutenant Scott said, "Well, the Hinds County Sheriff's Department street crimes unit routinely monitors online websites and it's the new way of prostitution. Now, if you'll look at some of the websites, they will say that they accept donation; that they accept flowers in exchange for companionship. Well, you can call it what you want to, at the end of the day it's still prostitution." 

Officers seized cash, a laptop computer and three cars from the Langley Street house. Next stop, Tiffany's strip club. It's supposed to be a place where you can, legally, go watch topless dancing. 

Scott said, "Well, there was no dancing going on. It went straight to bartering; exchanging money for sex. I wasn't in there five minutes when I got an offer." 

The place was littered with used condoms, filthy furniture and illegal drugs like marijuana and ecstasy pills, which no one claimed ownership. 

Some of the so-called dancers also had problems identifying themselves. 

In all, seven arrests were made at Tiffany's: 28-year-old Nakelia Causey for prostitution, 25-year-old Vernadean Riley for possession of marijuana, 36-year-old Karon Hicks for possession of marijuana and ecstasy, 49-year-old Robert Allen was charged with running a house of prostitution since he was the manager on duty, 30-year-old Rodney Gilbert was charged with possession of marijuana, 36-year-old Tracie Hill for possession of marijuana and 31-year-old Yannicka Whiters for possession of marijuana.

We asked if there will be anymore raids. Lieutenant Scott only had this to say, "We just may drop in at your party. Invited or uninvited, we just might stop at the party whether it's at the club or at the house...never know."

Everyone arrested in Tuesday night's sting operation is being held at the Hinds County Detention Center pending an initial court appearance.

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