Seven people were arrested in Richmond County’s latest crackdown on prostitution, authorities said.
Members of the RCSO Narcotics/Vice/Gang division set up their operation in a local hotel room on the evening of Thursday, June 18. They targeted both the women who sell themselves online and the men who transport them, according to Investigator Jose Ortiz said.
He said the vice unit targeted websites where the women advertised their services with pictures and phone numbers. Officers called them and recorded what they were willing to do. The meet-up was done at a local undisclosed hotel, where officers set up undercover video surveillance to record the offer before making the arrest.
Throughout the night and early morning hours of June 18-19, officers made seven arrests, including four women and three men for solicitation or transport for prostitution, which is a misdemeanor.
Those arrested include:
- Olivia Ford, 26, of Charleston, Solicitation or transport for prostitution
- Linda Hubbard, 35, of Blackville, Solicitation or transport for prostitution
- Tayra Roberson, 26, of Augusta, Solicitation or transport for prostitution
- Cherelle Wright, 25, Solicitation or transport for prostitution
- Christopher Sherman, 37, of Blackville, Solicitation or transport for prostitution
- Kerry White, 30, of Evans, Solicitation or transport for prostitution
- Joseph Michel, 51, of Aiken, Solicitation or transport for prostitution
Most suspects in the past have pleaded guilty and paid a fine, Investigator Ortiz said. The goal is to discourage prostitution.
“It’s unsafe,” the investigator said. “There is a better way to make money than to degrade yourself and sell your body.”