HOUSTON – Harris County led the nation with more than 100 arrests during a month-long nationwide sex sting operation targeting sex buyers.
According to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, more than 30 U.S. law enforcement agencies participated in the “15th National Johns Suppression Initiative.” In all there were 638 arrests, with 103 in Harris County.
Nine hotels assisted in the operation, according to HCSO.
The arrests were made from Jan. 7 through Feb. 4 in an operation “intended draw attention to the exploitive nature of the sex trafficking industry and reduce the demand for purchased sex.”
“Men who are out seeking to buy sex should know they are contributing to criminal human trafficking networks that victimize some of our community’s most vulnerable residents,” said Harris County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Edison Toquica. “I want to commend our Sheriff’s Office Vice U nit for putting in the hard work to protect human trafficking victims by putting their customers in jail.”
Solicitation of prostitution is a Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine.
The arrests in the Houston area include a man who was arrested by the Vice Unit weeks before the operation. The man repeatedly called and texted an undercover deputy in an attempt to impede the sting operation. The District Attorney’s Office accepted a charge of interfering with the duties of a public servant.
• A man who brought one gram of cocaine to meet with the undercover deputy. The man offered the cocaine to the undercover deputy, then snorted the cocaine himself before he could be detained;
• A man in possession of 4 grams of methamphetamine;
• A man in possession of 3 grams of methamphetamine and 3 grams of marijuana;
• A man in possession of 7 grams of methamphetamine;
• A man in possession of 18 grams of ecstasy, 1 gram of cocaine and 2 grams of marijuana.