County makes arrests in prostitution sting

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A four-day crackdown on human trafficking by a federal law enforcement task force netted 15 prostitution-related arrests and three drug arrests in Denton County.

Deputies arrested nine people on attempted prostitution charges and six on solicitation of prostitution charges throughout the county from Thursday through Sunday in conjunction with the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force.

Three other people were arrested on drug charges during the sting operation, according to a news release from the Denton County Sheriff’s Office. One of the 18 people arrested in Denton County was a registered sex offender, officials said.

No child victims were found in Denton County, but four children were recovered in Dallas and one in Fort Worth, according to Katherine Chaumont, spokeswoman for the Dallas FBI office.

The FBI said that among those arrested in North Texas were four pimps, 18 johns and three offenders who solicited children for sex trafficking via the Internet.

Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Sandi Brackeen told the Denton Record-Chronicle that the department did not know if any of those arrested in Denton County were involved in child sex trafficking.

Chaumont said the Denton County arrests were not related to child sex trafficking but were cases that surfaced during the sting.

The crackdown was part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative, established in 2003 by the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division in partnership with the Department of Justice and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, to address the growing problem of child prostitution.

In addition to the Sheriff’s Office, the Denton and Lewisville police departments and the Denton County District Attorney’s Office were among the 18 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies participating in the operation, officials said.

Officer Ryan Grelle, spokesman for Denton police, said the department made two arrests on outstanding warrants and assisted in one arrest with the Sheriff’s Office.

Lewisville police Capt. Jay Powell said the Lewisville officers played more of a supporting role while the Sheriff’s Office headed up Denton County’s efforts in assisting the FBI and the Homeland Security investigations.

Chaumont said no federal charges had been filed as of late Tuesday.

MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.


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