NEW ORLEANS - Seventh and Eighth District officers and members of NOPD's Vice Unit arrested 11 women and five men after a six-week undercover operation to identify prostitutes and their customers on Chef Menteur Highway.
The investigation was launched in October after police received multiple complaints from residents and business owners who noticed an uptick in what they suspected was prostitution along Chef from Downman Road to Read Boulevard, according to a city news release. Seventh District detectives also recognized the need for the undercover operation after noticing an increase in crimes associated with prostitution, such as drug sales, armed robberies and shootings.
The first five weeks targeted prostitutes actively soliciting customers. In the sixth week, officers did a reversal operation in which female officers posed as prostitutes.
"This was outstanding work by the officers in the Seventh District, Eightth District and Vice Unit," said Police Chief Ronal Serpas. " A lot of people don't recognize how many dangerous crimes go hand-in-hand with prostitution. Many johns go back to motel rooms only to have guns pulled on them and their wallets taken from them. Others have been beaten up, or even shot."
Arrested for prostitution are: 40-year-old Irene Brooker, 23-year-old Mary Rayford, 27-year-old Lashay Wolf, 31-year-old Tresscel Thomas, 19-year-old Dominique Carney (arrested twice within three weeks), 21-year-old Ann Wymola, 23-year-old Jennifer Hernandez, 24-year-old Krishaune Hines, 20-year-old Kristina Rogers, 22-year-old Jasmine Heidlberg and 23-year-old Ebonie Underwood
Serpas said the undercover operations would continue.