A two-day prostitution sting in Bell County, Texas led to the arrest of 20 men, the majority of whom are currently-serving military service members.
13 of the men are military, with 12 stationed at Fort Hood. The sting operation was initiated by the special crimes unit of the Bell County Sheriff’s office and took place in two separate locations, both hotels in Kileen and another in Salado over a period of 16 hours.
The sting was part of the National Johns Suppression Initiative, a nationwide program aimed at the suppression of illegal prostitution. The initiative began in 2011, and so far has netted more than 8000 arrests.
Sheriff Eddie Lange said that the special crimes unit posted several ads on online sites known for attracting people looking to purchase sexual services and waited for someone to respond. They didn’t have to wait for long as the first male “john” appeared in one of the locations in less than 20 minutes.
“Sheriff’s deputies and investigators stayed and waited for the individuals to make contact and then agree to meet in person to pay for sex and ladies and gentlemen it did not take long,” Lange said. “Once an ad was placed, I think the shortest time was about 20 minutes before they had the first contact so again this is a very viable institution here in Bell County that we intend on trying to put a dent in.”
One man came from Waco to pay for sex because he said the Waco area “was too hot,” according to Lange, while another man had his wife and mother waiting in a car in the parking lot.
Lange said the punishment for this type of offense could be anywhere from a fine to a few years in jail. He also added “Most likely their military careers will be affected,” referring to the military members arrested during the sting.
The military members arrested were:
MAJ Donta White, 89th MP Bde.
CW2 Ernest Grant, Warrior Transition Unit
WO1Gregory Hughes, 1st Combat Service Support Bn.
MSG Stanley Ervin, 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command
SSG Kendrick Davis, 57th Signal Bn.
SSG Natalion Seymour, 2nd Chemical Bn.
SGT Carlos Castillo, 411 Military Police Co.
SGT Michael Culpepper, with 2nd Squadron, 7th Cav. Regt.
SPC Jimmie Joiner, with 3rd Bn., 227th Aviation Regt.
SPC Christopher Webster, III Corps
PFC Adrian Upshawn, with 3rd Cav
PV2 Xavier Horne, with 2nd Bn., 227th Aviation Regt.
Normally, service members charged with solicitation who are convicted receive non-judicial punishment after the civil process is complete. This typically, according to military lawyers consulted by USAWTFM, leads to administrative separation.
Under the article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, however, service members caught “patronizing a prostitute” may face a maximum penalty of a dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 1 year.
All of the men have been released on from jail on bonds ranging from $1,500 to $2,500.