Valdosta Daily Times

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November 6, 2013

Sex sting nets numerous arrests

MOULTRIE — If you advertise it, they will come. At least, apparently, if that “it” happens to be sex.

An undercover sting operation carried out by a small-town police force brought in alleged “Johns” from an area that stretched from Albany to Tifton to Valdosta to Moultrie.

Berlin officials say a recent reverse sting operation resulted in 23 arrests on pandering and trespassing charges.

Some of those charged in the Oct. 26 and 27 operation also face charges on other offenses, including drunk driving, and drug possession after they responded to online sex ads, the Berlin Police Department said. The agency also said it seized more than $100 in counterfeit money that one alleged customer had planned to use to pay for sex.

The men were all booked under charges of pandering or a city ordinance of disorderly conduct/pandering.

Fifteen were released after posting a bond and eight were taken to Colquitt County Jail. Of those taken to jail, five were from Valdosta, and one each were from Albany, Moultrie and Tifton. Two are still the target of active investigations, authorities said.

The department decided to conduct the “reverse-sting” operation after hearing that there were women in Berlin trading sex for prescription medications or cash, said Berlin Ofc. Raymond Bedal.

The agency decided to lure men seeking to pay for sex to the city using online ads on craigslist.com, backpage.com, backescorts.com, plentyoffish.com, adam4adam.com and “The Valdosta Underground Sex Club,” police reports said.

 “During the monitoring of the above illicit sites servicing the outlying regions of the Albany, Moultrie and Valdosta area during the week prior to this sting, there were seventeen individuals advertising for performance of illicit prostitution services just on one of the six social media sites alone (backpage.com) seeking paying ‘Johns’ for the weekend of Oct. 25-26,” the reports said.

 A reporter’s web search for the term backpage.com brought up a listing whose first heading was for “Macon escorts,” and the first topic listed under the web address of the Valdosta area sex club was a listing for “Underground Sex Club” boasting of nearly 104,000 members.

Earlier this year a Tifton man reported being robbed when a woman he negotiated with on an internet site came to a motel room in Moultrie for sex for money. He told Moultrie police that when he went into the bathroom to take off his clothes the woman took his money and left.

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