7 women arrested in Pasco US 19 prostitution sting

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PASCO COUNTY, FL (WFLA) — Seven women have been arrested in a prostitution operation along US 19 in Pasco County, officials said.

The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office says the undercover operation focused on the female prostitutes along the US 19 corridor in Holiday, New Port Richey and Hudson.

The women arrested were: Carol Jean Howard, 49; Rachel Patricia Graham, 31; Michelle Lee Balser, 36; Tori Nikita Maurency, 24; Amanda Helen Elgers, 26; Shaylyn Nancy New, 31, Erica Sue Gibbs, 36. The women have all been charged with prostitution. Other charges include possession of methamphetamine, possession of crack cocaine, possession of a controlled substance, possession of paraphernalia and VOP warrants.

Many of the women have been arrested before for the same crime. “We don’t like to continually arrest the same people for an act that is not pretty when you get down to it,” Captain Chris Beaman with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said.

Captain Beaman said prostitutes lead dangerous lives, sometimes targeted by serial killers or human traffickers. “Almost in all the instances, we determine that they’re often addicted to drugs, have drugs on them, and they’re just looking for a means to support their habit,” he said.

Beaman said business owners are afraid of becoming victims of crimes themselves. The business owners told News Channel 8 they’re glad to see the arrests.

Jennifer Seabert is a hair stylist in the area. She said she sees prostitutes and their customers all the time.

“Mid-day, 2 o’clock in the afternoon on a Thursday, we saw a guy pull up and a girl get in,” Seabert said.

She said the prostitutes make deals in front of her salon. “You see them pulling in and out all the time, so we’re grateful,” Seabert said.

Gina Oldfield, of Floors N More on Highway 19, said she also sees the hookers every day. She’s elated the sheriff’s office is making progress.

“All these businesses around here trying to make a dollar, and the customers don’t even want to come in the shop because they see things going on like this,” Oldfield said.

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