A recent prostitution operation resulted in 62 arrests, including seven that were made in Midland for online solicitation of a minor. The other arrests from the 15-day operation were in Odessa, according to a press release received Thursday from the Odessa Police Department.
Of the arrests, there were 18 felony charges and 50 misdemeanors, according to the release. The prostitution operation — called Operation Gauntlet — used online advertisement postings, texting and phone calls during three phases. In all, undercover officials received 12,329 total incoming messages and “chatted” with 1,361 unique phone numbers.
Cpl. Steve LeSueur, public information officer for the OPD, said targeting technology isn’t new for his department.
“We’ve been doing this for a long time,” LeSueur said. “We know this is an issue. We know how these predators work. That’s what they use.”
The prostitution operation was from Feb. 16 to March 3 and included local, state and federal agencies. Among those assisting were the Midland County District Attorney’s Office, Midland Police Department, Midland Fire Department and Midland County Sheriff’s Office.
“The vast majority of arrests took place in Odessa,” LeSueur said. “But we definitely couldn’t have done it without the assistance of the MPD and the Midland County Sheriff’s Office.”