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Picayune is the largest city in Pearl River County, Mississippi, with a population of about 11,000. Picayune is part of the greater New Orleans metropolitan area, and is located approximately 45 miles from New Orleans, Hattiesburg and Gulfport-Biloxi. Prostitution activity have been well-documented in the city and surrounding communities, and in unincorporated areas of the county.
Local law enforcement agencies have arrested sex buyers and publicized their identities. For example, in January 2018, Picayune Police Department detectives arrested a man after he allegedly contacted an undercover agent with the intent to exchange marijuana and liquid codeine for sex. A meeting was set up at a local business, and detectives and the undercover agent arrived at the meet point and then met with the 31-year-old suspect, who gave the undercover agent a substance suspected to be marijuana and a red liquid suspected to be codeine, as payment for sex. The detectives then moved in and took him into custody and searched his vehicle. The man was arrested for two counts of conspiracy to transfer a controlled substance within 1,500 feet of a church, two counts of transfer of a controlled substance within 1,500 feet of a church, possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute within 1,500 feet of a church, and soliciting prostitution. The suspects identity was included in the police news release.
In 2019, the Picayune Police Department arrested 24 men during an undercover sting operation named “Pay to Play.” All of the arrested men were charged with “procuring prostitution” and their identities were publicly disclosed. The operation included joint efforts by multiple divisions of the Picayune Police Department. The operation was initiated after the department received numerous complaints about prostitution related activity at local motels. Several of the individuals arrested were also charged with drug related offenses, and some allegedly wanted to trade drugs for sex. Multiple suspects also had guns and knives on their person when they were arrested.
- Picayune Police Department
Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- https://www.picayuneitem.com/man-arrested-for-allegedly-soliciting-prostitution/ (2018)
- https://m.magnoliastatelive.com/prostitution-sting-nets-two-dozen-suspects-ranging-ages-20-to-74/ (2019)
Background on Local Prostitution: