5 women nabbed for using backpage.com to allegedly sell sex
JACKSONVILLE (KATV) —
Four women nabbed for prostitution and a fifth woman was cited for operating an escort service without a license. "Operation Backpage" is the first sting operation of its kind for Jacksonville police.
A tip led Jacksonville PD to the website Backpage.com.
KATV first reported about Backpage back in April when Little Rock police were conducting their own sting operation, and now prostitution using this same website has made its way to Jacksonville.
Using headlines such as:
"I'm ready whenever you are"
"Gorgeous ...delectable beauty"
"Very independent ... real...drama free and discrete."
Four women were arrested within the last two weeks during "Operation Backpage".
Lois Chavez, 25, Kayla Edmond, 23, Krystal Gilbert, 31, and Tonya Ballou, 38, were all charged with prostitution and one count of operating a business without a license.
Jessica Peters, 37, was cited for operating a business without a license because of the escort business she was running from her home in Jacksonville.
"They go out here, they sell themselves, they're making money, some type of money, and so it is a charge that is added when they're operating without a permit," said Jacksonville Police Detective Cassie Blackerby. "Obviously they're not going to go to the city hall and get permits for this type of activity, but it is something to be charged with as well."
Blackerby said it only took them a few weeks to conduct "Operation Backpage" using several area hotels to set up meetings with these women and undercover police.
"We wanted these women to also know, you know, it's unsafe, if they go to somewhere else, they don't know what's going to happen...they don't know who this john is, and that could be dangerous for them," added Blackerby.
All five women were working independently Blackerby said. She added, while running an escort service business is not illegal in the state of Arkansas, the chances of someone getting a business city permit is slim to none.