Tifton Gazette

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September 27, 2011

TPD makes prostitution arrests

TIFTON — The Tifton Police Department’s crime suppression unit arrested five local women Wednesday and Thursday after conducting an undercover prostitution sting in the areas of 11th to 13th Street from Ridge Avenue to Park Avenue.

Officer Shane Benefield told The Tifton Gazette Tuesday afternoon that after receiving several complaints concerning prostitutes hanging around truck stops and on Highway 82, the crime suppression unit worked those targeted areas and came across the offenders.

Benefield advised that Maj. Buddy Dowdy was able to provide the suppression team with two undercover officers for the operation, which resulted in the following arrests: Laura Ann Merritt, 39, 1112 S. Park Ave., was charged with prostitution; Donna Mechell Clark, 32, 136 E. 17th St., was charged with prostitution and possession of marijuana; Tia Leeann Cole, 23, 123 W. Elman St., Ty Ty, was charged with prostitution; Tracy Lynn Carleton, 37, 2439 Old Ocilla Road, was charged with prostitution and possession of cocaine; and Tina Louise Horner, 39, 1119 S. Park Ave., was charged with prostitution.

“Among these five arrests, three illegal narcotic cases were also made,” Benefield said. “Both marijuana and cocaine were taken off the streets of Tifton in connection with the prostitution arrest, which shows an additional reason why proactive policing is so important.”

To contact reporter Latasha Everson, call 382-4321.

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