SOUTHAVEN, Miss. — Undercover agents said they spent hours looking through online ads during Operation Cross Country, answering those ads and ultimately putting 12 locals away on prostitution charges.
According to police, 9 prostitutes and 3 pimps were arrested in Southaven between October 13 and 14.
Terricia Maxon, Vonesha Scott, Cassie Rolack, Chelsea Obrien, Chandra Sims, Denise Cotton, Kendra Jones, Royal Stevenson, and Dantonio Hogg were all charged with one count of prostitution.
Andrew Obrien, Tarvis Williams and Marcus Franklin were all charged with promotion prostitution.
Another suspect, Deterrius Jones, was charged with driving on a suspended license.
WREG has confirmed Chelsea and Andrew Obrien are father and daughter.
Operation Cross Country took weeks to prepare for.
“We put forth quite a bit of effort for several weeks, but the arrests happened over a course of 2 days last week,” said Capt. Richard Chandler.
According to the FBI, Operation Cross Country is an annual event focused on rescuing victims of prostitution.
This year approximately 82 children were recovered nationwide and a total of 239 pimps and other individuals were arrested, the agency said.
More than 50 FBI field officers and 74 FBI-led task forces, and 400 law enforcement agencies participated in sting operations at hotels, casinos, truck stops and other areas known for illegal activity.
The youngest child recovered was 13-years-old.
In the state of Mississippi, a total of 5 pimps and 22 prostitutes were arrested. Another person was arrested on drug charges.
In 2015, there was at least one underage child discovered in the state wide operation. This year there were none.
“Operation Cross Country aims to shine a spotlight into the darkest corners of our society that seeks to prey on the most vulnerable of our population,” said FBI Director Comey, announcing the results of the operation during a press conference today in San Diego at the International Association of Chiefs of Police annual gathering. “We are not only looking to root out those who engage in the trafficking of minors, but through our Office for Victim Assistance, we offer a lifeline to minors to help them escape from a virtual prison no person ever deserves.”