Cranberry Township, PA

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

Cranberry Township is a municipality of approximately 34,000 residents in western Pennsylvania located in Butler County, PA. Cranberry Township is one of the fastest-growing areas of the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the township and surrounding areas of the county. This activity and its ancillary crimes has resulted in complaints to local law enforcement from residents and businesses. The area has also experienced issues with illicit massage businesses (IMBs) serving as fronts for prostitution in the area. Police have conducted investigations into the IMBs that have resulted in the arrests of prostituted women. Targeted violence against individuals engaging in commercial sex has also been documented in the county. Among the more serious issues associated with the local commercial sex market is child sex trafficking and child sexual abuse material (CSAM). For example, in 2018, the Cranberry Township Police Department assisted in the investigation of an Oklahoma couple that was arrested for transporting a minor from Oklahoma to Pennsylvania with the intention to have the minor engage in prostitution and other sexual activity. The were also accused of “recruiting” another minor for sex trafficking. They were indicted by a federal grand jury in 2018.

While there have been no reports of traditional reverse sting operations being conducted in Cranberry Township, police have been known to arrest sex buyers and sex traffickers through alternative investigations or through residential reports to local law enforcement. In 2019, a 54-year-old Cranberry man was arrested after he allegedly attempted to enter the room of a woman arrested on prostitution charges during an undercover operation was arrested for patronizing a prostitute – a third degree misdemeanor. According to Cranberry Detective Justin Hewitt’s affidavit, the sex buyer arranged a meeting with the woman after seeing an advertisement on a website that promotes prostitution. Police had used the same website to conduct the prostitution operation in which they were targeting prostituted persons online. According to the affidavit, the male sex buyer entered the Quality Inn in Cranberry Township on Oct. 24, 2019, and tried walking past an undercover officer and FBI agent to enter the same room where a woman was arrested earlier on prostitution charges. Upon questioning, the male sex buyer agreed to let officers look at his cell phone, where, police say, they saw text messages arranging payment in exchange for sexual intercourse. Charges against the sex buyer were filed six days later on October 30, 2019, during the arrest of the second prostituted woman.

Key Sources

Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure:

Background on Local Sex Trafficking and Prostitution:

Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Commercial Sex:

State Pennsylvania
Type City
Population 33096
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