Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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June 19, 2012

Prostitution sting nets 12

PRINCETON — Nine women and three men have been arrested in two separate undercover prostitution stings in downtown Princeton.

According to the Princeton Police Department, Chelcie Baker, 23; Tera Williams, 30; Nakesha Cabbell, 21; Shelva Conley, 25; Rita Cooper, 50; Brandi Johnston, 25; Jennifer McCall, 24; Tammy Redden-Lawrence, 49; and Jessica White, 28, all from Princeton, were arrested during a sting on Thursday, June 14.

The Princeton Police Department also arrested three men during an earlier undercover operation on June 4 and June 5. Johnnie Pierce, 58, of Chatham, Va.; Douglas Hess, 65, of Princeton; and Warren Reed, 51, of Rockview, were arrested and charged with the soliciting of prostitution.

Lt. J. W. Howell, with the Princeton Police Department, said the stings took place on Mercer and Thorn streets.

“We had undercover police officers posing as interested clients,” Howell said.

One woman had to be taken to Princeton Community Hospital for a possible drug overdose, Howell said. The remaining women were taken to magistrate court. Their bond was set at $5,000. Two women have made bail, but six women still remain in Southern Regional Jail. Chatham, Hess and Reed are out on bond, Howell said.

“We have been trying to get this problem cleaned up as much as possible,” Howell said.

He also said authorities have been working on ways to solve the prostitution problem, specifically in the areas of Mercer and Thorn streets in downtown Princeton.

Howell said the accused women could face anywhere from 60 days to three years in jail, depending on the number of offenses. A third offense is considered a felony. The men who solicit prostitution could face the same penalties.

“We hope it keeps them off the street,” Howell said. “If there is any new prostitution in town, they will know we are not going to tolerate it.”

The Southern Regional Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation helped with the investigation.

— Contact Jamie Parsell at jparsell@bdtonline.com.

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