Prostitution Sting Operation In Longview - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

3/3/05-Longview

Prostitution Sting Operation In Longview

A small army of Gregg County law enforcement officers banded together Thursday in a sting operation designed to eliminate the problem of prostitution. Months of planning and surveillance went into Thursday's sting which incorporated officers from the Longview Police and Gregg County Sheriffs office. It centered around an area near Teague Park and Highway 80.

"When you're dealing with the oldest profession in existence, I think it's going to be an issue you have to keep addressing on a continual basis", said Operation Leader Sergeant Keith Sloan of the Longview Police Department.

The target wasn't the people who were selling, it was those who were trying to buy, and from the first minute of the sting, arrests began!

"By taking a few girls out at a time it doesn't affect the overall picture and this way we can affect 30, 40,50 to 100 arrests in one day and it makes a substantial impact", Sloan said.

25 officers in two teams followed the movements of their female undercover officers, posing as prostitutes. It's a recurring problem for law enforcement and they hope by taking the consumer end out of this that they'll eliminate the problem. Surveillance teams watched the suspect's every move. After, they would make "an offer" to the undercover officers.

The men were taken to hotel rooms that had been purchased by police. That's where a takedown team took them into custody, and read them their rights.

"They're obviously affecting businesses and the welfare of the people in this area", Sloan says.

Old and young, professionals, laborers, even one man in a wheelchair solicited the female officers. Over 20 arrests were made in the operation, and by it's conclusion officers say the number of arrests could be near 100.

Bob Hallmark, reporting.

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