McCracken prostitution sting leads to 17 arrests

MCCRACKEN COUNTY, KY — There are an estimated 10,000 to 16,000 websites on the internet where people post ads to sell sex. A handful of new websites are targeting McCracken County, and the sheriff’s department wants to put a stop to that through sting operations.

Seventeen people were arrested this week: 26-year-old Aaron J. Kelley, 39-year-old Joshua W. Culp, 33-year-old Terrnell P. Albritton, 28-year-old Mallory A. Shisler, 40-year-old Christopher D. Taylor, 25-year-old Anissa R. Haymon, 53-year-old Penny L. Baird, 38-year-old Benny L. Dawson, 35-year-old Natasha L. Henson, 28-year-old Stefoni M. Beasley, 25-year-old Sarah Taber, 28-year-old Shevah Baht Israel Ohara, 45-year-old Michael Treas, 22-year-old Delandra Stubblefield, 66-year-old Dennis Richards, 29-year-old Jose Gonzalez, and 31-year-old Joel Virgen Marquez.

They were all charged with sex crimes. Some were also charged with drug crimes.

Sheriff Matt Carter says he wants to keep people in our county safe by getting ahead of a growing problem.

In a snap, the blue lights are on and deputies roll out to arrest a woman who agreed to sex for money. Undercover detectives put potential sellers on the hook. Once they arrive, law enforcement officers move in.

Former Sheriff Jon Hayden was part of this week’s sting operation. He recently retired as McCracken County sheriff. He has 30 years of experience in law enforcement and prostitution cases.

“Whenever you find someone in a situation, you always relate to: What if this was my daughter, my sister, my cousin? You know, some close family member that you care about?” Hayden says.

“What these young ladies, and in some cases what these young men, are involved is extremely dangerous. Hopefully, this will serve as a deterrent to keep people from entering into such a dangerous profession,” Hayden says.

Detective Sarah Martin says the stings are about more than sex for cash.

“There’s usually illegal drugs. There are violent crimes that are associated with it, where people are getting robbed. I think earlier, or yesterday, one of the situations they were going to rob us, so I mean it’s not just prostitution we’re stopping. It’s a whole gambit of things,” Martin says.

Carter says the prostitution sting operation came from a website that’s so easy to access, adults and kids can view it right from their phones. People are posting ads to sell sex locally.

In McCracken County over the past 10 years, there have been just 50 prostitution arrests.

“I think that is definitely going to be a number that’s on the increase and not the decrease. That’s just something I think we’ll have to closely monitor, and again, just try to remain proactive on it and refuse to allow it to take root in our community,” Carter says.

Carter says he believes this week’s sting operation has put those engaging in prostitution on notice. He says his undercover detectives have already gotten messages from pimps and prostitutes that warned them about a sting operation.

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