Yavapai County, AZ

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

Yavapai County is a county of just over 242,000 residents, located in central Arizona. Prescott is the county seat and largest city. The city of Sedona is situated in both Yavapai and Coconino Counties.  Prostitution and sex trafficking have been well-documented in the cities and unincorporated are of the county.  In addition to city-level efforts targeting sex buyers, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office has also conducted web-based reverse stings to apprehend adults soliciting acts of prostitution from children online.

In April 2014, YSCO deputies conducted a two-day investigation that resulted in the arrest of seven men who arranged to meet “and were willing to pay underage girls for sex in a Yavapai County motel room.” According to media reports, the buyers responded to an online “notice” and traveled to the motel with the intention of paying an underage girl for sex. They were arrested after “they requested sex acts and handed over the money.” Following the investigation, all of the men’s names and arrest photos were distributed to the public in a press release from the YSCO.

In August 2014, the YCSO conducted a third web-based anti-child prostitution investigation, netting eight men in the process. During the operation, the men allegedly “made contact [with undercover officers] in response to a notice from an internet publication” and agreed to meet what they thought were minor girls for commercial sex at a nearby motel room in Camp Verde. Seven men were arrested after they arrived at the location and made an explicit offer of money for sex with a minor; an eighth man was arrested at his home after officers served a search warrant. The sex buyer, a convicted sex offender, had “made arrangements for specific sex” with the underage girls but had not followed through with the plan. In the days following the operation, all of the arrestees’ names and mugshots were publicized in local media outlets.

In June 2015, undercover YCSO deputies apprehended four male sex buyers during a web-based reversal staged at an undisclosed motel in the county. Each of the men arrested allegedly attempted to contacted what they thought was a minor female offering prostitution (but was, in fact, a law enforcement officer) online. All of the offenders’ names and arrest photos were released to the public.

In each of the aforementioned operations, the YCSO was assisted by agents with U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Arizona Department of Public Safety, Partners Against Narcotics Trafficking (PANT), and Camp Verde Marshal’s Office, as well as several nearby police departments.

In January 2018, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office again conducted an operation in conjunction with several area law enforcement agencies to combat sex trafficking.  The operation targeted buyers who willingly hire underaged girls for prostitution. After two men initiated contact in response to the online ads placed by investigators, they made arrangements to meet the decoys posing as trafficked children in a specified Yavapai County motel room. Names, other identifying details, and booking information were provided by YCSO to media outlets.  Both men were arrested for one felony count of engaging in child prostitution after soliciting what he believed was a 16-year-old for sex. One of the men detailed his request prior to arrival and offered a specific cash amount during the contact. He provided a false name during his arrest, eventually giving his true name when booked. He was released on a promise to appear pending court. The other man arranged to offer a pure bred Blue Nose pit bull puppy as payment for the sex act, and did in fact bring this dog to the motel room where he was arrested. In addition to the YCSO, the agencies involved in the operation were the Prescott Police Department, Prescott Valley Police Department, Flagstaff Police Department, Navajo County Sheriff’s Office, FBI and Department of Homeland Security Investigations.

Not all arrests of sex buyers in the county have been the result of proactive stings sing fictional decoys, but were instead the product of investigations about specific offenders committing crimes against actual victims.  For example, in July 2014, two men were arrested after contacting what they thought was a minor girl through a “social networking site” and soliciting sex. Both were charged with luring a minor for sexual exploitation; one of them was also charged with child prostitution, as he allegedly “described sex acts [to the undercover officer] and offered money in exchange.”  In February, 2019 an investigation was launched in response to a tip that prostitution was occurring within a house in Prescott.  Officers searched the house on Miller Valley Road south of Whipple Street. Officers spoke with the alleged “manager” of the illicit business, and when confronted with evidence that had previously been obtained by police, she admitted to running the illegal prostitution business. A male “client” whose name was not released was contacted at the brothel during the course of the investigation and was cited and released for engaging in prostitution, which is a misdemeanor. The woman was booked into the Yavapai County Jail on the felony charge of operating a house of prostitution, and her photo and identifiers were publicly released. Investigators said the would continue to evaluate and follow up on evidence that was seized at the scene.

Key Partners

  • Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office
  • Cottonwood Police Department
  • Prescott Police Department
  • Prescott Valley Police Department
  • Tempe Police Department
  • Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS)
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
  • Partners Against Narcotics Trafficking (PANT)
  • Camp Verde Marshal’s Office
  • FBI


Key Sources

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Sex Buyer Arrests, Identity Disclosure:

Community Service:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

State Arizona
Type County
Population 242253
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