Capt. Steve Morris said today that the arrests, which began in mid-December, involved two separate sting operations using a national online classified advertising service.
In the first sting, in mid-December, Columbia County investigators responded to online escort service advertisements and invited four women and two men to meet at a hotel near Interstate 20, said Capt. Morris.
Capt. Morris would not provide the name of the hotel used, but its owner agreed to allow a room to be used for the operation as long as the hotels name was not released.
Once the advertisers arrived and each negotiated a price for sex with undercover investigators, police arrested them for prostitution, Capt. Morris said.
In January, Columbia County investigators then turned the tables by setting up their own online escort service ad, Capt. Morris said.
The advertisement netted the arrests of four area men who showed up at the hotel, met with an undercover investigator and offered money for sex, Capt. Morris said.
Instead of cruising the streets for prostitutes, these men responded to an online ad looking for sex, Capt. Morris said. This ad was created by our investigators. It included a photo and would describe erotic services.
The agency is continuing to run the sting operation and expects more arrests, Capt. Morris said.
Arrested in December and charged with prostitution were Katrina Zuill, 19, of Augusta; Heather Patrick, 23, of Norcross, Ga.; Lisa Bogdan, 28, of Sardis, Ga.; and Kristine Matthews, 23, of Decatur, Ga., all women, Capt. Morris said, along with Sahara Friday, 27, of Hephzibah, and Bryan Holley, 27, of North Augusta, both men.
Mr. Friday also was charged with interference with government property after jailers say he cut two slits in his mattress at the Columbia County Detention Center.
Arrested in January and charged with pandering were James Samuels, 28, of Langley; Isaiah Williams, 49, of Aiken; James Flynn, 52, of Evans; and Thomas McCook, 25, of Augusta, Capt. Morris said.
All of those arrested have been released on bond with the exception of Mr. Holley, who remains in the Columbia County Detention Center with bond set at $1,600, Capt. Morris said.