HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — More than a dozen arrests were made for solicitation of prostitution or taking part in commercial sex trade in the greater Richmond region during an October undercover investigation.
Authorities from Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico Counties took part in the week-long VICE operation from Monday, Oct. 17, to Friday, Oct. 21. But an undercover officer on the task force told 8News that efforts to cut down on these crimes locally are ongoing.
“We understand that we’re not going to solve the nation’s human trafficking problem,” he said. “But if we can make this area as uncomfortable to operate in as we can, maybe we’ll keep some of those offenders out of here.”
The officer said that the trafficking and prostitution industries primarily take place on the Internet and through hotels.
“We pretend to be purchases, for example, ‘the Johns,’ and just as an actual consumer can go on the Internet and research these ads and make a date for themselves, we can do the same thing, and that is usually how we get our foot in the door to start an investigation,” he said. “[In] every city across the country, you’re going to run into instances of human trafficking. It takes place, primarily, in the hotel industry.”
That’s why the officer told 8News that Henrico Police and other local law enforcement agencies work to educate hotel managers and other personnel on the warning signs.
“There is a tremendous amount of drug use that’s involved with the victimization,” he said. “Do you have someone, let’s say a woman, who comes in from out of town; she’s paying every day in in cash; she never leaves the room; she always orders extra towels; she has frequent male visitors that aren’t staying at the hotel.”
Many of the 14 individuals arrested and charged during this most recent operation had no prior charges, or only low-level driving offenses.
However, during its investigation on Oct. 18, Chesterfield Police took three men into custody, one of whom appeared to be in possession of a controlled substance, according to a spokesperson. That individual, 45-year-old Albert David McCrae, Jr., had previous drug charges.
The Hanover County Sheriff’s Office also took 46-year-old Matthew Tyrone Snead into custody for drug and prostitution solicitation charges. He was previously found guilty of solicitation for prostitution in connection with a 2015 offense.
“When I first was tasked to investigate these cases, I really had no idea that this world even existed, or how it operated, or how I would operate within it,” the Henrico officer said. “It really teaches you that if there’s a way to make money off of something or someone, there’s someone who’s willing to do it.”
The following individuals were arrested and charged in connection with this October VICE operation:
- Joshua Ramon Brooks, 35, Henrico County – Solicitation for prostitution
- Ulysses Lakeith Stovall, 34, Henrico County – Commercial sex trafficking
- Anastacios Chato Paulidis, 43, Henrico County – Solicitation for prostitution
- Lawrence Oliver Taylor, III, 30, Prince George County – Commercial sex trafficking
- Brian James Alger, 38, Charlotte County – Solicitation for prostitution
- Hiral Ketan Kumar, 34, Henrico County – Solicitation for prostitution
- Ethan Andrew Sherry, 24, Henrico County – Solicitation for prostitution
- Nathan Kisaakye, 34, City of Richmond – Solicitation for prostitution
- Albert McCrae, Jr., 45, City of Richmond – Solicitation of prostitution from a minor; drug possession of a schedule I or II substance; use of vehicle to aid prostitution or unlawful sexual intercourse from a minor; reside in bawdy place
- Nicholas Bryce Milling, 20, Chesterfield County – Reside in bawdy place; use of vehicle to aid prostitution or unlawful sexual intercourse from a minor; solicitation of prostitution from a minor
- Hunter Braxton Rankin, 23, City of Richmond – Use of vehicle to aid prostitution or unlawful sexual intercourse from a minor; attempted solicitation of prostitution from a minor; reside in bawdy place
- Matthew Tyrone Snead, 46, Goochland County – Distribution of schedule I/II narcotic; solicitation of prostitution; reside in bawdy place
- Jennifer Reni Hood, 37, City of Colonial Heights – Two counts of possession of schedule I/II substance; prostitution; reside in bawdy place
- Charles William Hawkins, 39, City of Richmond – Reside in bawdy place; solicitation for prostitution
“There’s a few of those investigations that are still ongoing,” the undercover Henrico officer told 8News. “There’s more than what’s seen on the surface, and we’re still looking into those. So I would say those are probably broader, and then there’s a handful from this last one that are one-offs and single offenders, and, obviously, they’re investigated differently.”