16 Arrested After Police Use Killeen BackPage Ads to Coordinate Prostitution Sting
16 people were arrested in Killeen late last week as police conducted a prostitution sting based on ads posted to BackPage.com.
Police used ads submitted to the site to make contact with men and women seeking to arrange meetings and exchange money for sexual acts.
Undercover police met potential customers and prostitutes at a local motel. Once it was clear that a deal had been made for prostitution services, the undercover officers gave a signal and arrests were made.
The following people were taken into custody:
Devin Terrance Walker, 17; Ce’Sean Malik Eaton, 18; Bo Dylon Moore, 19; Zellious Tyrone Wright, 22; Damian Lawrence Steptore, 24; Jecobi Sheffield, 24; Marie Woodson, 24; Shaevone Quashie, 25; Kyle Hawk, 27; Shenika Monique Gardner, 27; Nicole M. Colon, 28; Jessica Danielle Slauson, 29; Nichelle Sheilaya Tyler, 33; Fernando Ramirez, 36; Jesus Ortega, 36; and J. Deny Munoz Tamayo, 38.
Each suspect was arraigned on a charge of prostitution and held in lieu of $3,000 bond. Two were also charged with possession of an illegal substance, one was charged with unlawful carry of a weapon, and another was charged with resisting arrest.
BackPage has won two major lawsuits in the past year - one filed by three teenage sex-trafficking victims who accuse the company of facilitating crime, and another involving an Illinois sheriff who convinced Visa and Mastercard to stop processing payments for transactions on BackPage.com.
In the first case, a three-judge panel of the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a trial judge's decision to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that the Federal Communications Decency Act immunizes online companies from crimes committed by users.
In the second case, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order prohibiting Sheriff Thomas Dart of Cook County, Illinois from attempting to influence credit card companies to stop working with BackPage.
The losing parties in both cases have filed petitions to have their cases reviewed by the United States Supreme Court. The SCOTUS is expected to consider Dart's request in September.