ST. GEORGE — The St. George Police Department released additional details on a prostitution sting that landed nine men, mostly from Southern Utah, in jail on Friday.
The sting began with a fictitious ad posted online for sexual services, according to a statement from the Police Department. Nine men individually contacted a female decoy by phone in response to the ads and agreed to meet. Over the phone, the men discussed sexual acts in exchange for money and then met up with the decoy, where further dialog took place.
Each man was arrested after sufficient evidence was gathered in each case to support the charge of patronizing a prostitute. The nine men were:
- Darrin Odell, 24 of Washington, UT
- My Tran, 29 of St. George, UT
- Martin Garcia, 24 of St. George, UT
- Joseph Dye, 57 of Uintah, UT
- Robert Anderson, 63 of Ivins, UT
- (Name redacted – see ed. note), Hurricane, UT
- (Name redacted – see ed. note), Cedar City, UT
- Travis Popp, 39 of Heber City, UT
- Nathan Phipps, 48 of St. George, UT
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 Legislature.
Each man was booked into Washington County’s Purgatory Correctional Facility on bonds of $587 each. All have since posted bail and been released from custody, according to information from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
St. George News reporter Cami Cox Jim contributed to this report.
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 9, 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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