Shenandoah County, VA

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

Shenandoah is a county of about 45,000 residents in northern Virginia.  Prostitution and sex trafficking are well-documented local problems.  To curtail prostitution markets in the county, and respond to citizen complaints, police have used tactics to combat consumer-level demand.  The Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office has participated in undercover operations headed by the Mount Jackson Police Department. MJPD and several other agencies, including the Woodstock Police Department, New Market Police Department, Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office, and the Northern Virginia Regional Drug and Gang Task Force. For example, a reverse sting in  March, 2014 resulted in six arrests, and the names and ages of those arrested were released to news outlets.

In April, 2018, at least six people were arrested as the result of an undercover operation into prostitution led by area authorities. Officers with the Mount Jackson Police Department led the operation with assistance from agencies in New Market, Woodstock and Winchester. Deputies with the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office assigned to the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force assisted other agencies in the operation and with making the arrests.  The operation involved the use of a confidential informant who advertised services on an Internet website, Carter said. The sheriff would not disclose the name of the website nor explain where the suspected sex buyers would know to look for these services. The suspects then contacted the female informant and would set up a time for their rendezvous. When the suspects arrived at the hotel and offered to complete the arranged exchange of money for sex, law enforcement agents moved in to make the arrests.

Key Partners

  • Mount Jackson Police Department
  • Woodstock Police Department
  • New Market Police Department
  • Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office
  • Northern Virginia Regional Drug and Gang Task Force
  • Winchester Police Department
State Virginia
Type County
Population 44752
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