In an undercover investigation targeting online adult ads, which began Monday, April 11, 2011, and through Sunday, April 17, 2011, Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives arrested 60 suspects, both male and female, and charged them with either Soliciting another for Prostitution, Deriving Proceeds from Prostitution, or Aiding and Abetting Prostitution. Additional charges included Drug Possession and Violation of Probation.
After negotiating with detectives online, or by phone, the suspects traveled to an undisclosed location in Polk County where they offered detectives sex acts ranging from oral sex to intercourse in exchange for cash, charging anywhere from $50.00 to $700.00. The majority of the ads were found on backpage.com.
There were 36 females, and 24 males (see entire list below) who traveled to the undercover location from Florida cities to include Orlando, Altamonte Springs, Lehigh Acres, Naples, Bradenton, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Land O’Lakes, Riverview, Longwood, Apopka, Hudson, Sarasota, Miami, Lauderdale, Plant City, Kissimmee, and Davenport to engage in sex for cash. Many of those arrested have been arrested all over the United States, to include Maine, Michigan, New Mexico, Georgia, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Colorado, Arizona, and Utah.
“Some arrived alone. Some car-pooled; and some arrived in taxis, bringing along their children, condoms, and STDs,” said Sheriff Grady Judd. “Detectives targeted online escort services who promote prostitution. These sites increasingly provide the means for prostitution to occur. Detectives saw a 15-year-old run-away who brought her infant child along, a pregnant woman, a school bus driver, gang members, and pimps. The ads used by the suspects appeared on www.backpage.com, www.Bootytag.com, www.Findhotescorts.com, www.Sipsap.com, and others, and clearly promoted prostitution. It’s obvious from the suspect’s criminal histories, prostitution is a consistent partner to other criminal offenses. Prostitution is illegal and those who commit or who derive proceeds from this crime in Polk County can expect to go to jail.”
Some of those arrested were:
- Nicolette Sylvia, aka Tara Cambell, who was contacted via Backpage.com by undercover detectives. She negotiated for $300.00 in exchange for sex. Sylvia has been arrested in eight states on Prostitution charges; those states include Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and New Jersey. She was arrested in Connecticut for Operating under the Influence. She has a current warrant out of New Jersey for Prostitution, and has multiple prostitution arrests in Florida, California and Illinois.
- Bonnie Stroud and David Green. Stroud has been arrested in five states for Prostitution: California, Colorado, Arizona, Utah and Florida – (CA, UT, and FL multiple times). Green has been arrested in California for Cocaine Possession, Dealing in Stolen Property, Carrying a Concealed Weapon, Carrying a Loaded Firearm in Public, Possession of Marijuana, Pandering, Pimping, Threaten Crime with Intent to Terrorize, Battery, Kidnapping, Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor, Felon Possession of Firearm, and DUI. Green had $5,131.86 in his possession at the time of his arrest. The money was seized.
- Kenneth Melendez had placed an ad suggesting he was “every single woman’s best friend, and every married woman’s best kept secret.” Melendez was identified by Gang Unit Detectives as a member of the Sex, Money, Murder Bloods criminal gang from Osceola County. His criminal arrest history includes: New York charges of Armed Robbery, Reckless Endangerment, and Unlawful Fleeing a Police Officer in a Motor Vehicle. Florida charges include: Battery on a LEO, Possession of Marijuana, Resisting with Violence, Possession of Cocaine, DWLSR, Tampering with Evidence, Kidnapping/False Imprisonment, Aggravated Battery, Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon, Aggravated Stalking, Weapons Offense (Weapon of Mass Destruction), Possession of a Short Barreled Shotgun, Sale of Cocaine, Fleeing to Elude (multiple Robbery, possession of weapons and drug charges).
- Juvenile and her “pimp” Jonathan Padilla. The juvenile arrived at the undercover location after being contacted by undercover detectives via Findhotescorts.com. Her two-month old baby and “pimp” remained in the vehicle. At the time of her arrest she stated her age as 19. Further investigation revealed she was 15 years of age and was a run-a-way from Chicago, IL. The infant was turned over to the custody of DCF, and contact was made with the juvenile’s mother in Chicago.
- The “pimp,” Jonathan Padilla, was identified as a criminal gang member upon his arrest by Gang Unit Detectives. Perez’ mother confirmed his association with the Maniac Campbell Boys criminal gang in Chicago. The Campbell Boys are Folk Nation aligned, and have strong ties to the Maniac Latin Disciples. Padilla was charged with Deriving proceeds from prostitution, Child abuse, and Procuring a minor for prostitution. The juvenile was charged with Child abuse and Solicitation.
- Ashley Delawder, and her “Pimp” Montavius Postell. Delawder was contacted on backpage.com. After her arrest she advised detectives she was five months pregnant. She stated she was “stuck” in Florida because her other child was in DCF custody and she was trying to get the child back. She stated her child was staying with a friend here in Florida while she (Delawder) did time in jail for DUI in Chicago. The “pimp,” Postell, was charged with Deriving Proceeds from Prostitution and Possession of Marijuana Under 20 Grams.
- Tessa Turner, Brenda Stewart, and their “Pimp” Eric Rodriguez. Turner and Steward arrived at the undercover location after detectives contacted them via backpage.com. They were arrested after negotiating sexual intercourse for $200.00. Rodriguez drove the women to the undercover location from Orlando. All three claimed to be from south Florida. They were staying in a motel in Orlando, apparently answering ads on backpage.com. During the investigation Rodriguez was identified by Gang Unit Detectives via tattoos as a member of the Spanish Disciples criminal gang. Contact was made with the Gang Unit in Collier County and it was confirmed that Rodriguez was a member of the Sur 13 criminal gang in Collier County, but was said to have left the area several years ago moving to Kansas. Rodriguez had $1,722.99 in his possession at the time of his arrest.
- Michael Johnson was contacted by undercover detectives answering his ad on backpage.com. Upon arrival Johnson discussed he specialized in body rubs, and also negotiated sexual intercourse for $100 an hour. Johnson brought with him a variety of lotions and a small docking station to play music. Johnson is a school bus driver for the Pasco County School Board.
- Hector Febus Ojeda. Detectives responded to an ad on backpage.com in an area with the Escort Services section of the website that specialized in Transsexual Escorts. Ojeda and the undercover detective negotiated sexual intercourse for $300.00. Upon arrival Ojeda revealed his breast implants to the undercover detective.