4 charged in prostitution sting
Four people were charged in an undercover prostitution sting at a Yulee hotel Friday, according to the Nassau County Sheriff's Office.
Deputies said the suspects were contacted via Backpage.com, where they advertised their services in the Nassau County area.
All four agreed to meet with undercover detectives in hotel rooms at the Best Western Plus First Coast Inn and Suites off State Road 200 and Interstate 95 and made agreements to exchange sexual acts for money, deputies said. Following the agreements, deputies would then go in and make arrests.
Those arrested were Solanch Dewey, 21, of Jacksonville; Stephanie Coursey, 20, of Neptune Beach; Krystal Peeler, 32, of Jacksonville; and Jamie Stewart, 26, of Jacksonville.
The first three were booked into the Nassau County jail. They have since bonded out. A summons was issued for Stewart.
"Any time money changes hands for any type of sexual favor, it's illegal," said Sheriff Bill Leeper.
The Sheriff's Office said it decided to crack down on the problem after learning about the local ads.
"The girls have ads and show scantily-clothed pictures," Leeper said. "They give a name, a phone number and usually they tell how much for a half-hour or a full hour. The sex business is just part of the crime. Most are doing business to get money for drugs."
The Sheriff's Office said it will continue to conduct similar prostitution operations year-round targeting not only those who solicit sex, but also those who sell sex.
Leeper said the Best Western hotel had nothing to do with the sting besides just being a meeting place that deputies chose. He said there's no reason to believe that any prostitution was taking place there. That's a message the general manager wanted to make clear.
Leeper said prostitution is rare in Nassau County, noting that all the suspects were from Duval County.
Backpage.com did not immediately respond for comment.
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