An ongoing investigation by the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office is targeting both sex workers and those in the sex work industry. Just last week, another man was arrested in Melbourne, accused of deriving proceed from prostitution. He was also charged with possession of a controlled substance and driving with a suspended license.
According to Florida Today, the operation is targeting suspected prostitutes who use website to find potential clients, including backpage.com. In a sting last month, a sheriff’s deputy was during a Port St. John home when the uncle of the woman deputies were arresting ran out of his room firing a gun. The woman was charged with running a prostitution business, and her uncle was charged with attempted murder.
Two sheriff’s deputies also had to resign after it was revealed they had connections to the prostitute.
This sting seems to be targeting people who manage sex workers or operate sex work businesses. While prostitution is usually a misdemeanor offense, deriving proceeds from prostitution is a second degree felony for a first offense, punishable by a prison term up to 15 years and a fine up to $10,000.
Usually, stings target the clients of sex workers, also known as “johns.” This charge is commonly known as “solicitation.”
Sting operations are designed to collect enough evidence to charge someone before police move in to arrest the suspect. However, that evidence can be faulty. Prostitution stings are frequently subject to entrapment defenses and other challenges. A Melbourne solicitation lawyer can thoroughly review the circumstances to determine any and all defenses and weaknesses.