Blount County, TN

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Blount County is located in eastern Tennessee, and contains the cities of Alcoa and Maryville. Its population is roughly 138,000. Prostitution has been a well-documented local problem for many years, and generates complaints to police from residents and businesses.  Among the efforts to address such problems, there have been tactics used that are designed to combat the consumer demand that motivates all sex trafficking. On several occasions, sex buyers have been arrested during local sting operations. For example, in December 2014, media reported that the Alcoa Police Department had partnered with the Blount County Sheriff’s Office to conduct a “john sting” that resulted in the arrest of four men. Although the logistical details of the operation were not disclosed, a BCSO representative stated in a press release that “the arrests were the result of a joint undercover investigation with the Alcoa Police Department to address recent complaints from the community regarding illegal activity at some local establishments.” All of the arrestees’ identities were publicized by local media outlets.

In October, 2016 a joint operation between law enforcement agencies in Blount County, the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force, and TBI resulted in several arrests and several citations for prostitution. The Blount County Sheriff’s Office, Maryville Police Department and Alcoa Police Department joined with the two other agencies in an operation in which six people were charged or cited with prostitution. The daylong investigation was held at a local hotel. One man from Lenoir City was charged with patronizing prostitution, and held in the Blount County Jail on $750 bond. His identity was disclosed in news releases.

In July, 2019, a web-based reverse sting was conducted in Alcoa and surrounding areas in East Tennessee, resulting in the arrest of four men. Authorities placed decoy advertisements on websites known to be used for prostitution and commercial sex. Their goal was to identify people seeking to buy access to sexually abuse females under age 18, as well as individuals engaged in trafficking others for commercial sex acts.  The TBI, Alcoa Police Department, Blount County Sheriff’s Office, Maryville Police Department, and 5th Judicial Drug Task Force were all involved in the operation.

In September, 2020, six men were arrested by Alcoa Police Department undercover officers conducting a sting operation, and charged them with patronizing prostitution.  The sting occurred at two motels on the Alcoa Highway, and a hotel at Singleton Station, Louisville.  The undercover operation used female police officers as decoys at area hotels where they had complaints about prostituted women and the men patronizing them.

Key Partners

  • Blount County Sheriff’s Office
  • Maryville Police Department
  • Alcoa Police Department
  • Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
  • 5th Judicial Drug Task Force

Key Sources

Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

State Tennessee
Type County
Population 137605
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