|IT Based Tactics||✓|
Lexington Park is a census-designated place of approximately 13,000 residents, located in St. Mary’s County in southern Maryland. Prostitution is known to have generated numerous complaints to the police from local residents. The sex trafficking of minors has also been well documented locally. For example, in December, 2014, the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Vice/Narcotics division, assisted by support team and patrol deputies, conducted an undercover operation with the intent of targeting websites that were frequently used to solicit prostitution in St. Mary’s County. While both monitoring the internet websites and complaints from the public, “Operation Naughty List” was conducted. Local police said that quality of life issues that are associated with prostitution, other serious criminal acts, such as human trafficking, sexual assault, drug distribution and robbery, are known to have a prostitution nexus. On one occasion, detectives answered a posting for a female offering sex for money, stating she was 19 years old. When the suspect arrived, she confirmed the sex act she was going to perform in exchange for money. Once she was placed under arrested, it was discovered she was in fact a 16 year old girl, and detectives recovered “oxycodone” and marijuana during the incident.
Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. In an effort to apprehend and deter sex buyers, the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office has conducted street-level reverse stings, resulting in the arrest of male sex buyers. Police have also released arrestees’ names and other identifying information to the local media. In a reverse sting in 2006, detectives from the Bureau of Criminal Investigations Investigative and Narcotics Divisions, assisted by patrol officers from St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office, the Maryland State Police, Sheriff’s Office Special Operations Division and St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Corrections Division conducted a sting operation in Lexington Park. The operation was conducted in two phases, with the first phase targeting prostituted women. For the latter half of the operation, sheriff’s deputies replaced the arrested and displaced prostituted women with an undercover female officer, and arrested 10 sex buyers. In this case, some of the men resisted arrest and attempted to flee, or interfered with the investigation in other ways.
Street-Level Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- “St. Mary’s County Police Report for October 03, 2004”, Southern Maryland Online, October 4 2004.
- “Lexington Park Prostitution Sting Ends in Melee”, Southern Maryland Online, April 8 2006.
- “They Said It in 2006: the Year in Words and Pictures”, Lexington Park Enterprise, December 29 2006.
- “Police in St. Mary’s Use Labor Day Weekend to Clean Up Dodge”, Southern Maryland Online, September 4 2007.
Background on Local Prostitution, Sex Trafficking, Related Crimes:
- “St. Mary’s BCI Police Reports”, Southern Maryland Online, March 28 2007.
- https://thebaynet.com/st-marys-county-police-conducts-operation-naughty-list-html/ (2014)
- https://www.the-chesapeake.com/operation naughty-list (2014)
Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area: