By Angie Thompson

TIFTON -- Three women were recently arrested and charged with prostitution after they offered to sell sex to an undercover agent working for the Tifton Police Department. More arrests will be made, according to local police, if people continue attempting to buy or sell sex.

"We had received complaints and began to notice women congregating and making contact with men," Chief Jim Smith said. "We put a plain-clothed male officer out there."

Officers have also noticed cars riding in certain areas looking for prostitutes.

Smith said that a "reverse sting operation" is forthcoming and men should be aware that if they accept propositions from female undercover officers, they too will be arrested and charged.

"We will be putting a female officer out there to see if she gets solicited," Smith said. "We will make a charge against a man trying to make contact with a female with the intention of paying for sex."

Smith believes there is a strong link between women selling sex and their abuse of drugs. He contends the actions are risky for both the women and the men soliciting the services.

"It is very dangerous, not only the risk of disease, but the potential for some serious bodily harm to all involved," Smith said.

In the early morning of Oct. 9, Annie Mae McCray, 38, 99 Tifton-Eldorado Road, and Mona Maria Corona, 35, 439 Dixie Ave., were charged with prostitution. They were both arrested at the corner of 9th Street and Ermine Avenue. Allison M. Wilkerson, 34, 119 N. Railroad St., Sycamore, was arrested on Beech Street Oct. 21 and charged with prostitution.

Smith said his department has concentrated its efforts on vice crimes -- drugs, illegal sell of alcohol to minors, prostitution - in the last three months.

"We are still actively involved in these investigations," Smith said. "We don't need these things in Tifton."

To contact reporter Angie Thompson, call 382-4321, ext. 208.

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