Task Force Makes 19 More Arrests in Prostitution Sting
Two weeks after an undercover operation led to 26 arrests, the West Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force conducted another sting in Tuscaloosa and charged 18 men with solicitation of prostitution and one woman with commission of the same.
The operation took place last Friday and Saturday, January 24-25th, and again made use of self-described "escort" websites and mobile apps. In most cases, suspects made contact through the sites or apps, met an undercover officer in an area hotel room and were arrested after explicitly agreeing to pay for sex acts.
The male suspects, all charged with solicitation of prostitution, include Raymond Allen, Nabil Hamid Alzendani, Adel Sadeq Awadallah, Scotty Wayne Baker, Justin Kuriakis Billups, Sidney Ray Champion, Ronrico Ken’ondri Dunn, Ben Eric Ellis, Shahriyar Emami, Toney Levi Ferguson, Anthony Jerome Hood, Tobias Keonte Horton, Marcus Isiah Johnson, Dale William Kelley, Kristopher Scott McLaurin, Edward Markeith McShan, Zheng Mindong and Thomas Allen Parker.
The one woman arrested, Eva Hope Medina, allegedly advertised on the same site police were using for the sting. According to a deposition filed last week, officers responded to the ad and arrested Medina when she agreed to perform sex acts for $250.
Court records indicate the West Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force charged at least 45 people with the solicitation or commission of prostitution in Tuscaloosa County last month.
A TPD spokeswoman said the undercover operations were a part of the 18th National Johns Suppression Initiative, during which dozens of law enforcement agencies across the U.S. conduct stings and typically arrest the "johns" trying to pay for sex rather than targeting prostitutes themselves, who are often victims of exploitation and abuse. More than 9,000 sex-buyers have been arrested during these operations since they began in 2011.
The operation concluded last weekend, and more information about the arrests locally and nationwide will likely be released in February. Stay tuned to this site and station for more details as they become available.