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Massive Prostie Busts Part of October’s National A-1 Advertising Inc [aka] Raid

from – They would surf the Web looking for sites advertising certain desired services. After a brief correspondence with a woman listed on a site, an agreement was reached to meet in person – and when an offer was made of sexual favors for money, an arrest was made.

The client was an undercover detective.

Over the course of six months, Fort Wayne police netted 90 arrests, among them suspects from five states. All were part of an investigation into online prostitution.

The women often met detectives at local hotels and agreed to take money in exchange for performing a sex act, according to Sgt. Mark Walters, a supervisor in the Vice & Narcotics Bureau. The announcement of the Fort Wayne arrests came in conjunction with the conclusion of a federal project that netted nearly 900 similar arrests.

Walters said the local hotels and motels were accommodating in providing free rooms for officers during their investigations, although he declined to name specific locations.

About half of those arrested were Fort Wayne women, he said. The remaining arrests included women from Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Texas.

“They actually tour the country doing this,” Walters said. “A lot of them are strippers, and they are going club to club and they are doing these activities in between.”

The women advertise their availability for services on websites and then book meetings with clients online, Walters said.

Fort Wayne police also worked with other agencies to make arrests in nearby cities, including Columbia City, Warsaw and New Haven, Walters said.

One of those arrests was Aaron Prater, 25, of Warsaw, charged in Allen County with a felony count of promoting prostitution. In September, Prater coordinated with an undercover officer to have the officer meet a woman, who then offered to perform sex acts for money, court records said.

The woman told police she was working for Prater, who she said operates an online prostitution service. Prater would screen her calls, set appointments for her and drive her to clients, records said.

Additionally, undercover stings at local massage parlors were included among the 90 arrests.

In addition to the women and Prater, Walters said another man – a client – was charged with promoting prostitution. A third man, a transvestite, was arrested during a bust, he added.

The investigation concluded Nov. 1 with the arrest of four women from Marion, Ohio.

The women met undercover detectives at a New Haven motel after their prostitution ringleader spoke on the phone with a detective, who had found an ad on a website and organized the meeting, court records state.

The women then agreed to perform sex acts on one another in front of the officers in exchange for money, records state.

The case involving those women, along with others who police say crossed state lines to provide illegal services, have been forwarded to the FBI for other possible charges, police said.

The announcement of the Fort Wayne arrests came in conjunction with the conclusion of a federal project, Operation Cross Country, which totaled 885 arrests over a three-day period.

As part of that investigation, FBI agents raided National A-1 Advertising, in Philadelphia, which operates at least one of the websites used to set up local meetings, police said.

A spokesman for the Fort Wayne FBI office said Tuesday that the office did not participate locally in Operation Cross Country.

While the nationwide operation rescued 69 juveniles who had been victimized by prostitution, Walters said no minors were found prostituting locally.

“Several young ladies told (detectives) they started (prostituting) before they were 18,” Walters said. “Many of them were under the threat of force.”

About 20 percent of the arrests made by Fort Wayne police resulted in felony charges. To be charged with felony prostitution, a suspect must have been convicted three times previously of misdemeanor prostitution, Walters said.

During the investigation police seized a total of $15,000 and five vehicles.

“We feel like it met the goal,” Walters said of the investigation. “They (escorts) are definitely leery about coming to Fort Wayne.”

While four undercover detectives worked these cases – with the assistance of a team of uniformed officers – Walters said his department kept up on its “normal” prostitution arrests.

“We didn’t want to ignore the street prostitutes,” he said. “We wanted to make them feel wanted.”


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