GEARY COUNTY, Kan. (WIBW) -- On June 12th and 13th, the Geary County Sheriff’s Department spearheaded a joint operation to combat a prostitution problem that officials say has been “plaguing the community.”
Deputies from the Geary County Sheriff’s Department along with officers from the Junction City Police Department and the Grandview Plaza Police Department ran an undercover sting using classified advertisement websites.
Undercover officers made contact with different men and women via the internet on common web sites such as Craigslist and Backpage.com. Once a “date” was set up at a Junction City hotel and a deal for sex was made, officers and deputies swooped in and more than one dozen arrests were made.
The two-day operation led to the arrests of 16 people- suspected prostitutes, pimps and “johns.”
Geary County Undersheriff Tony Wolf stated: “Not only did we successfully arrest these individuals on charges of prostitution, patronizing prostitution and promoting prostitution but we were also able to recover stolen property, including a stolen gun out of New York. We also served arrest warrants and made several cases of drug possession.
Wolf says the sting took place at a Junction City hotel but he declined to say which one. He told 13 News that of the suspected prostitutes, pimps and “johns” who were arrested, some were from the local area and others traveled to Junction City from Topeka, Wichita and Manhattan.
The sting was prompted by reports from across the country of sex trafficking using underage girls. In April, the Riley County Police Department revealed that a 15-year-old girl from Sedgwick County was brought to Manhattan for the purpose of prostitution. Wolf said local agencies wanted to see if underage prostitution has made its way to way to Geary County.
"We looked to try to tackle the underage prostitution and the human trafficking element. We thought that this was an opportune time to see if we couldn’t dive into that and see if that was a problem in our community. Luckily, we didn’t encounter any of that but what we did encounter was worthy of this operation and we took a lot of the criminal element off of the street which is always a good thing for our community," Undersheriff Wolf said, adding that the Geary County Sheriff's Department plans to do similar operations in the future.