News short: 9 arrested for prostitution patronage

ST. GEORGE – Friday, St. George police arrested nine men on charges of patronizing a prostitute. Official reports on the arrests are pending, and specific details are not being released at this time, said St. George Police Capt. Kyle Whitehead with the Washington County Drug Task Force, which made the arrests. This is a developing story, and further details will be reported as we receive them.

The nine men arrested in a prostitution sting: top row, from left, Darrin Navas Odell, of Washington, My Phung Tran, of St. George, Martin Fernando Garcia, of St. George; second row, from left, Joseph Dye, of Uintah, Robert Joseph Anderson, of Ivins, (redacted; court record expunged by court order circa Jan. 31, 2017); third row, from left, (redacted; court record expunged by court order July 27, 2016), Travis Rhett Popp, of Heber City, Nathan Arnold Phipps, of St. George, booking photos posted June 27, 2014 | Photos courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Friday night, officers arrested Darrin Navas Odell, of Washington City; My Phung Tran, of St. George; Martin Fernando Garcia, of St. George; Joseph Dye, of Uintah; Robert Joseph Anderson, of Ivins; (name redacted – see ed. note), of Hurricane; (name redacted – see ed. note), of Cedar City; Travis Rhett Popp, of Heber City; and Nathan Arnold Phipps, of St. George. Each man was charged with one class-B misdemeanor for patronizing a prostitute, which is a violation of Utah Criminal Code 76-10-1303(1)(A).

Under the statute, a person is guilty of patronizing a prostitute if they pay, offer to pay or agree to pay another person for the purpose of engaging in a sexual act, according to information from the Utah State Legislature.

Each man was booked into Washington County’s Purgatory Correctional Facility on bonds of $587 each. All but Garcia have since posted bail and been released from custody, according to information from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

This report will be updated as additional information is received.

Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Ed. notes:  Oct. 30, 2016 – The name and photo of one of the nine has been redacted as the justice judge ordered his record expunged July 27, 2016. March 20, 2018 – The name and photo of a second of the nine has been redacted as the justice judge ordered his record expunged Jan. 1, 2017.

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  • Chuck Brown June 28, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    I sure hope no of these men are married…..Ouch!!! Momma not gonna be so happy when the whole town see’s their faces all over the STG News paper….What a shame.

  • Chuck June 28, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    Who let the dogs out, I’m not talking about the men either.

  • You know June 28, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    Craigslist sting operation” such fools.

  • Sgentrap June 29, 2014 at 1:05 am

    Let me guess… The only way for law enforcement to make money in this county is to set up a prostitution ring and then arrest the idiots that just fall into their trap. Way to make he county safer and richer.

  • Trev June 29, 2014 at 2:14 am

    As it turns out, all of the prostitutes in St. George city are actually police officers posing as prostitutes. Not only do they serve and protect us by creating a supply of illegal prostitution and then arresting those who patronize them, but they also donate some of their hard earned money to help landscape local parks. Still, it is somewhat disconcerting to drive down St. George boulevard at night and see all the mustachioed cops strolling around in booty shorts. I guess that’s the price we pay for safety!

  • Jj June 29, 2014 at 8:12 am

    So the prostitute isn’t getting fined?? She’s the sorce of the problem.

    • Lisard June 29, 2014 at 1:31 pm

      Right, prostitutes are the source of the problem. People (usually men) who solicit them are just unable to make good choices when there’s a prostitute around. That’s insulting to men. That being said, unless there are children involved, or human trafficking, I don’t think this sort of thing should be illegal. Money for sex just doesn’t ring true as a crime to me as long as the arrangement is between consenting adults. This article seems absurd if you take this view, especially the men who are single. The married ones, well, that’s between them and their families. Yes I know this is currently illegal and it was dumb for these guys to do what they know is illegal, but I’d be all for de-criminalizing prostitution.

      • Richard June 29, 2014 at 4:39 pm

        One should know all the problems associated with prostitution…drugs..physical abuse..sexual abuse…trafficking…STD’s

  • Duchess Vera June 29, 2014 at 8:19 am

    Was it a sting operation? Fake prostitute soliciting? Most likely, it was the case, since no “working girls” were arrested. Perfect example of entrapment and government overreach. And why post their photos and names? Nothing better to report? They are presumed innocent until proven guilty in the court of law.

  • Sampson June 29, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Just legalize it already and there won’t be this problem.

  • Religious question June 29, 2014 at 11:38 am

    How will this impact their temple worthiness?

    • snafu June 29, 2014 at 5:04 pm

      No effect, they were caught in a sting. Ergo no sin was committed excepting in their hearts

    • Terry June 29, 2014 at 5:54 pm

      Oh stop’

  • knowsthescore June 29, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    This isn’t the first time the DIRTY COPS in St. George have called it a “sting” or some other legal sounding term to violate the rights of Americans.The fact is SGPD is the epitome of a “police state” arresting with out cause or evidence, bullying people to get statements, innocent until proven guilty? Good luck with that here.. US constitution? Rights as an American? Not in St George Utah..

  • Zeke June 29, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    A prostitute sting with a Class B Misdemeanor resulting is a $587 bail from jail.
    Wowser, we’ve reached the big time in crime prevention around here.

  • Terry June 29, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    I believe they should spend our money on serious issues in the community. Prostitution has been around for ages.
    Let’s set up Sting for something very serious n a threat to our communities.
    Meth, Herion ? What say You? I know one of these men and this sting just ruined His life. He is a good man period. Any other opinion is bull…..*
    *Ed. elipses

  • Ellen Lambert June 29, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    Just wanted to comment to the author, Cami Cox…so glad to hear you got married and are still carrying on your excellent journalistic talents!!

  • Thunderbird Shame! June 29, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    Another SUU professor? Wasn’t it the president’s top staff member last time?

  • Rev. Lovejoy July 10, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    Terry, your adult friend made an adult choice to break a law. He was old enough to know the consequences. Good people often do stupid things. Your supporting him does not change the fact he contacted someone to pay them for sex.

    I agree this bait scheme does question if the criminals would have still attempts to commit the crime if the police officer had not posted the bait ad.

    The argument will always be if they were looking for it that’s why they found it.

    Paying for sex is common… I agree it should not be a crime…but it is and adults know better.

  • Cat September 4, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    Yep mama wasn’t happy, still isn’t!!!

  • Get real September 29, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    Men, we’re all paying for sex one way or another!

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