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August 02 10:21 AM

Multiple arrests made in prostitution sting

105 juveniles recovered nationwide in operation targeting underage prostitution

STAFF REPORTS

The Inquisitor has identified the 17 individuals arrested in Shreveport and Bossier City last weekend in conjunction with area law enforcement agencies’ involvement in the FBI's "Operation Cross Country VII."

Mark Natale of the Bossier City Police Department stated that officers posed as prostitutes and "johns" in an undercover capacity and made contact with the suspects via the Internet, all of whom agreed to meet at a designated location for the purpose of having sex in exchange for money. Bossier City arrests:

Katrina Walls, 25, of Plano, Texas, was arrested on a charge of prostitution after agreeing to have sex with an undercover agent in exchange for $400.

Taylor Courtney, 19, of Waco, Texas, was arrested on prostitution after agreeing to have sex with an undercover agent in exchange for money.

Eddie Burgos, 25, of Houston, was arrested on a charge of soliciting prostitution after arriving at the Homewood Inn and Suites, to have sex for money. The arrangements had been made with an agent working undercover.

Anthony Robinson, 35, of Benton, La., was arrested on a charge of soliciting prostitution after he called an undercover agent posing as a prostitute and agreed to pay $50 to have sex with the agent.

Paul McWatters, 39, of Magnolia Springs, Ala., was arrested on a charge of soliciting prostitution after answering an ad on the internet and made an agreement with an undercover officer posing as a prostitute.

Mark Starcevich, 52, of San Diego, Calif., was arrested on a charge of soliciting prostitution. He called an undercover agent posing as a prostitute and met with the officer, offering money for sex.

Shreveport arrests:

Jose Miguel Diaz-Duran, 26, of Hillsboro, Texas, made contact with an undercover agent and agreed to pay $50 in exchange for sex. He was arrested and charged with soliciting prostitution.

April Latran Maxwell, 33, of McKinney, Texas, allegedly offered to perform regular sex and oral sex to an undercover officer in exchange for $300. She was arrested and charged with prostitution.

Latonya Denise Stubblefield, 30, also of McKinney, Texas, also offered to perform sexual favors for an undercover agent for $300. She was arrested and charged with prostitution.

Also arrested on a charge of prostitution during the operation were Amanda Nicole Adams, 23, of Pearl, Miss.; Vielesee Kimberly Cassell, 29, of Dallas, Texas; and Ashley Nicole Fleander, 21, of Shreveport.

Arrested on a charge of soliciting prostitution were Will Austin Taylor, 24, of Port Arthur, Texas; Bobby Leroy Jones, 40, of Greenwood, La.; Jason Lamar Gray, 31, of Shreveport; James Joseph Edwards III, 31, of Shreveport; and Darren Dewayne Mays, 48, of Harker Heights, Texas.

During a period of 72 hours, the FBI; its local, state, and federal law enforcement partners; and the National Center for Missing and Ex- ploited Children (NCMEC) conducted Operation Cross Country VII, a three-day enforcement action to address commercial child sex trafficking throughout the United States. The operation included enforcement actions in 76 cities across 47 FBI divisions nationwide and led to the recovery of 105 children who were being victimized through prostitution. Additionally, 159 pimps were arrested on state and federal charges.

Operation Cross Country is part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative that was established in 2003 by the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, in partnership with the Department of Justice and NCMEC, to address the growing problem of child prostitution.

To date, the FBI and its task force partners have recovered more than 2,700 children from the streets. The investigations and subsequent 1,350 convictions have resulted in lengthy sentences, including 10 life terms and the seizure of more than $3.1 million in assets.

Task force operations usually begin as local enforcement actions that target truck stops, casinos, street “tracks,” and Web sites that advertise dating or escort services, based on intelligence gathered by officers working in their respective jurisdictions. Initial arrests are often violations of local and state laws relating to prostitution or solicitation. Information gleaned from those arrested frequently uncovers organized efforts to prostitute women and children across many states. The Innocence Lost National Initiative brings state and federal law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and social service providers from across the country to NCMEC for training.

The New Orleans region, which includes Baton Rouge, Alexandria, Lake Charles and Shreveport, reported six juveniles being recovered and six pimps being arrested.

Four juveniles were recovered in New Orleans. One accused pimp and 17 accused johns and adult prostitutes were arrested during that recovery.

The arrests in Shreveport, Alexandria and Lake Charles, did not recover any juveniles.

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