Suspects busted in prostitution crackdown appear in court - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Updated

Suspects busted in prostitution crackdown appear in Austintown court

Posted: Updated:

AUSTINTOWN TWP. Ohio - A coordinated effort by county and local law enforcement agencies nets seven arrests on charges of prostitution and drug-related activity.

It was a pre-planned crackdown, that started with agents soliciting prostitution suspects to the Route 46, I-80 corridor. The Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force and the FBI conducted this planned operation Wednesday, with the assistance of Austintown police and the Mahoning County Sheriff's office.

"This was a out-call operation, where we called women advertising as escorts that will come to a location that we had already," Jeff Solic says, commander with the Mahoning County Law Enforcement Task Force.

Seven people were busted after they showed up to an un-named location, most were contacted online. Four suspects appeared in Austintown Municipal Court Monday for their arraignments.

LaCarra Peterson, 28, entered a not guilty plea to a charge of prostitution. 

Christina Gradillas' bond was set at $2,500. The 34-year-old Youngstown woman is charged with prostitution and drug-related charges, including felony possession of drugs charge. Maria Polas, 25, of Youngstown, pleaded not guilty to a prostitution charge and drug-related charges. Tiye Brightwell-Knox of Akron entered a not guilty plea a charge of prostitution.

Three suspects did not appear in court Monday afternoon. Christopher Sturgeon, 23, of Youngstown, is facing charges of promoting prostitution and drug-related charges. Cristin Urso, 32, of Warren, is charged with prostitution. Heather Upole, 29, of Youngstown, is charged with prostitution and possession of drug paraphernalia. 

Of the six women that were arrested,  three had corresponding drug charges, and getting drugs off the streets was the focus of Wednesday's initiative.

"It's been our experience that most of the women that we've arrested for these kinds of offenses in the past, have been heroin users, heroin being the biggest threat, I think right now to law enforcement and community," Solic says.

Solic hopes that for at least some of the suspects, facing legal punishment serves as a wake-up call to make changes in their lives.

 

  • More From wfmj.comMore>>

  • Witness: Teen's plane didn't show obvious distress

    Witness: Teen's plane didn't show obvious distress

    Thursday, July 24 2014 7:38 PM EDT2014-07-24 23:38:16 GMT
    The family of an Indiana teenager who crashed in the Pacific Ocean during an around-the-world flight says he knew the risks and had prepared for them.More >>
    A man who saw a plane flown by an Indiana teen who was killed during an around-the-world flight attempt says the aircraft was flying low but didn't show any obvious signs of distress before diving into the ocean off...More >>
  • UPDATED

    Ohio State marching band director fired

    Ohio State marching band director fired

    Thursday, July 24 2014 4:26 PM EDT2014-07-24 20:26:01 GMT
    Ohio State University fired the director of its celebrated marching band on Thursday amid allegations he knew about and ignored "serious cultural issues," some involving rituals where students were pressured to march in their underwear or participate in sexually themed stunts.More >>
    Ohio State University fired the director of its celebrated marching band on Thursday amid allegations he knew about and ignored "serious cultural issues," some involving rituals where students were pressured to march in their underwear or participate in sexually themed stunts.More >>
  • US airlines to resume flights to Israel

    US airlines to resume flights to Israel

    Thursday, July 24 2014 4:15 PM EDT2014-07-24 20:15:57 GMT
    United Airlines will be the first U.S. carrier to resume flights to Israel after a two-day hiatus caused by combat in the Gaza Strip.More >>
    The U.S. airlines serving Israel will resume flights there Thursday, following a two-day hiatus caused by combat in the Gaza Strip.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms