Tonawanda News

Local News

November 11, 2011

Cops bust prostitution ring

— — Town of Tonawanda on Friday arrested ten women for their involvement in an apparent “freelance” prostitution ring soliciting clients over the Internet.

The arrests were made over the course of two days, resulting from a sting operation involving detectives who posed as potential “Johns,” Tonawanda Police Lt. Joe Carosi said.

Though detectives regularly conduct similar operations, he said the latest effort yielded far more than the usual number of arrests.

“Usually we get one or two girls. The fact that we got 10 in two days is astounding,” Carosi said. It’s a sign of the desperation.”

The women ranged in age from 22 to 58. According to police, some carried identification from states including California, Georgia, Missouri and Ohio, though many also have local addresses.

Police have surmised the women frequently travel from location to location.

“They may be part of a loose network of freelance prostitutes who travel the country posting ads on the Internet and then moving on after a few weeks,” a department press release states.

The investigation involved identifying local prostitutes through various escort sites, including the Web site www.backpage.com, where ads clearly solicit sex while adding that a given woman will “only be in town a few days.”

About 70 such ads currently exist on the site for the Buffalo area.

Police said detectives posed as potential Johns and contacted the women using provided telephone numbers. The women agreed to perform various sexual acts for a fee usually around $100 to $160 per hour.

Though each woman was charged with one count of misdemeanor prostitution, Carosi said they often simply post bail and move on.

He said one of the women arrested in the town Thursday is already advertising her services in the Rochester area.

“They come in, they move into towns or cities, they turn their tricks and then they move on.”

He said there’s little hotel management can do to identify the women as prostitutes. Similarly, the charge is among the most minor infractions on the books.

Prompting the investigation were numerous calls to a police tip line that Carosi said was set up by police in recent months, at 879-6606.

Calls had come in more frequently, he said, among witnesses who noticed the women allegedly operating out of local hotel rooms on Niagara Falls Boulevard and Sheridan Drive.

The defendants also made trips to various locations at the request of undercover detectives.

Arrested were: Angelina Lin, 58, of Simi Valley, Calif.,; Dawn Keiser, 45, of Buffalo,; Kimberly Satterfield, 44, of the City of Tonawanda; Christie Jordan, 32, of Buffalo; Brianna Kropp, 22, of Buffalo; Laura Oswald, 25, of Buffalo; Natalie Britton, 31, of Toledo, Ohio; and, Demetria Keiser 22, Rashanda Langston, 27, and Dusty Dalton, 31, all of Buffalo.

“I think it speaks about the state of the economy and how difficult it is for people,” Carosi said, adding police lectured each woman about the dangers they pose to themselves in the sex trade, as well as the criminal element often drawn to the area.

 “These girls are putting themselves in incredibly dangerous situations,” he said. “They didn’t have bodyguards, they didn’t have drivers.”

He said a common trait among those arrested is a lack of education, multiple children sometimes by multiple men, a history of abusive relationships and an unwillingness or inability to find legitimate work.

 “All these girls, from what I can tell, are not educated women. They have several children and several arrests or convictions. They are in disastrous relationships or have come out of disastrous relationships. They have orders of protection ...” he said.

Arraignments are scheduled for Dec. 1 and Dec. 5 in Town of Tonawanda court.

“We spend a lot of time just kind of talking with them,” he said. “I’m always interested in the kind of back story ... It’s desperation.”

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