New Jersey Police Arrest 10, Rescue 16-Year-Old Runaway in Undercover Sex Trafficking Sting
The operation also turned up a fake gun, prescription pills, and $2,700 in cash
A sex trafficking sting operation orchestrated by Fairfield, New Jersey’s police department has resulted in the arrests of ten people on drug, weapons and prostitution charges, PEOPLE confirms.
During the undercover campaign, officers were also able to rescue a 16-year-old runaway who was being sold for sex, according to authorities.
According to a police statement obtained by PEOPLE, the sting operation was conducted on at a hotel in Fairfield on March 3. A number of other policing agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New Jersey State Police, assisted the investigation.
Undercover officers also recovered a fake handgun, prescription pills, three cars and $2,700 in cash.
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“This is why this absolutely is not a victimless crime, as many proclaim,” said Fairfield Police Chief Anthony Manna in a statement. “There are real young people who should be enjoying their teen years rather than being placed in a hotel room in Fairfield for the purposes of prostitution. We will continue to be a leading law enforcement agency whose goal it is to arrest and prosecute anyone who takes the innocence away from a juvenile.”
Arrested in last week’s sting are New Jersey residents Jasmine Crisp, 19; Katherine Soland, 25; Roberta Lombardi, 43; Jackie Cotton-Pearson, 35; and Janae Fussell, 43. Also facing charges are New Yorkers Oshane Crooks, 30; Shennette Munroe, 25; Jessica Burns, 38 and Unique Andrews, 19.
Last week, police also arrested Antoniese Nguyen, a 22-year-old from Atlanta, Georgia.
Crisp, Andrews, Nguyen, and Lombardi have been charged with engaging in prostitution while Crooks and Soland were charged with promoting prostitution and possession of drug paraphernalia. Munroe was arrested for drug possession while Burns was slapped with promoting prostitution and possession of an imitation firearm counts.
Cotton-Pearson has been charged with first-degree promoting prostitution of a minor, possession of a fraudulent drivers license and possession of a controlled substance. Promoting prostitution of a minor and engaging in prostitution charges were lodged against Fussell.
Cotton-Pearson and Fussell are being held at the Essex County Jail on bonds of $50,000 and $25,000, respectively. Crooks was turned over to police in New Brunswick, New Jersey, on an outstanding warrant with all of the other suspects being released with court appearance tickets.
Information on all of the defendants’ attorneys or whether they have entered pleas was unavailable Tuesday.