YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Youngstown police officers rounded up about a dozen suspects as part of a prostitution and drug sweep in the city.
- Brittany Watson, 31, charged with soliciting and possession of drug paraphernalia
- Freeman Allen, 60, charged with soliciting and driving under suspension
- Heather Maravola, 30, charged with soliciting and possession of drug paraphernalia
- Phillisa Patton, 27, arrested on a warrant and charged with soliciting
- Amanda Geiger, 36, charged with soliciting
- Latoya Griffin, 33, charged with soliciting and possession of drug paraphernalia
- Braylon Hunter, 26, charged with possession of cocaine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia
- Danielle Catley, 26, charged with possession of drugs
Youngstown Police Detective Sgt. Pat Kelly said the investigation started with complaints.
The department’s Community Policing and Vice Units’ focused on the Oak Hill and Hillman areas. Kelly said the area has been known for streetwalkers in the past, and the problems were beginning to escalate into a quality-of-life issue.
“You don’t want your kids standing on the same corner with prostitutes, so that’s one of the reasons why we’re going out there, hittin’ it pretty good,” he said.
Police say the sweep was conducted in phases, using a male undercover officer to catch prostitutes and later a female officer to catch customers. Along the way, others were caught in the net as well.
“Well, there was a car that two community police officers pulled over, and there were three illegal aliens, and ICE actually came from Cleveland to pick ’em up,” Kelly said.
Kelly said many of the women arrested Thursday are also drug addicts, looking to take the money they get to buy heroin or crack. He added that the sweeps will continue.
“I know we won’t stop the prostitution, but at least we’ll get a little bit of a handle on it,” he said.