Hills Prostitution Bust Leads To Five Arrests, More Possible
By Lee Hermiston, Reporter
HILLS, Iowa -- The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office arrested five people for prostitution-related crimes in Hills on Wednesday and Thursday.
More charges could result from the sting, which is a continuation of an ongoing project that's targeting human trafficking in the area.
"We know that there's human trafficking going on in Iowa," said Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek. "We know it's going on locally."
In April 2012, authorities from a multitude of Johnson and Linn county law enforcement agencies arrested 17 people in a two-day prostitution sting that took place in Coralville. Pulkrabek said the project has a goal of "trying to find children who have been forced into the sex trade and to get them out of that environment and - hopefully - into a safer environment."
At least one minor was found in this week's operation.
According to criminal complaints, a deputy responded to a known prostitution website and set up an appointment in Hills. Police said officers met with Jasmin R. Howell, 24, of Nashville; and Madison F. Deason, 18, of Harpers Ferry on Wednesday.
Howell brought another woman to Hills to have sex for money, police said. The other woman – who is not identified in criminal complaints – told investigators Howell advised her on what to charge for the sexual encounter and how long the encounter would last.
Police said Deason admitted to driving another woman to Hills, where they expected to meet a man for sex in exchange for money. Deason allegedly told investigators she was to receive $50 for driving the woman to Hills. She also admitted to driving women to “various places” to perform sex acts.
The operation continued on the following day. Police said 31-year-old Robert E. Jackson, of Milwaukee, drove three women down to Hills after an investigator responded to an ad on a prostitution website and set up an appointment. One of the women was only 15 years old, police said.
Police said the two women who were going to perform the sex acts – 21-year-old Cidney T. Miller, of Milwaukee and the 15-year-old - told investigators Jackson was their pimp and all of the money they made from performing sex acts went to him.
The third woman, 25-year-old Alexandra Willliams, told investigators she allowed Jackson to drive a car she rented, knowing Williams was using the car to pimp out women.
All five adults have been arrested and face charges.
Pulkrabek said the 15-year-old is in "a safe place."
Howell faces one count of pimping. Deason faces one count of conspiracy to commit prostitution. Jackson faces two counts of pimping. Miller and Williams each face one count of aiding and abetting in prostitution.
The Johnson County Sheriff's Office was assisted by the Iowa City, Coralville, University of Iowa and Marion police departments and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. Pulkrabek said he suspects more arrests will result from this operation, but he doesn't know how many at this time.
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