Vice Squad
Friday, November 14, 2003
 
Arizona Uses Confiscated Drug Money...


...to confiscate more money. Parallel prostitution stings, one aimed at
prostitutes and one aimed at clients, resulted in 72 of our friends and
neighbors being arrested in Maricopa County, Arizona, according to
this article in the Arizona Republic. The arrestees include 45 women
and 27 men.

If you go to the linked article above you also might want to take a look
at the slideshow and the local news broadcast that are linked. The
sheriff was good enough to make sure that the media were embedded
in the operation -- some of the photos were taken in hotel rooms where
arrests took place -- demonstrating yet again what a good idea it is for
law enforcement and the mass media to work hand-in-hand in enforcing
vice laws. Arrestees were brought to the parking lot of a local mall where
they could be processed, coincidentally providing another forum for film
and photos of our accused friends and neighbors. The caged dogs of
some of the arrestees can be viewed in Photo#3 of the slideshow.

How was this large-scale operation funded? With confiscated drug
money. Now perhaps you might think that there are better ways to
spend this money, but that is because you have overlooked the fact that
prostitution arrests can be almost as lucrative to law enforcement as drug
arrests. From the Republic article: "Sheriff's detectives spent $12,000 in
seized drug funds during the operation, but they found $36,000 when
they searched the homes and massage parlors."

A couple more quotes from the article I will pass along without comment:

"Once the women are booked into jail, they will be kept until they are
checked for any sexually transmitted diseases, part of a new state
requirement."

"Deputies will decide whether to seize the women's homes and cars after
more investigating, [the sheriff] said."

But I did note one inconsistency in the operation, however. On the one
hand..."'We're a full-service law enforcement agency,' [the sheriff] said.
'We go after everybody.'" Well, not quite everybody. When they were
luring men to meetings with purported prostitutes so that the would-be
johns could be arrested, one man asked if he could bring a friend, a
soldier recently back from Iraq. The police officer posing as a prostitute
told the man not to bring his friend, reasoning that the soldier "'deserves
a little better than being thrown in jail.'" Not like his friend, of course,
who is a tremendous hazard to the community.

Perhaps the sheriff is really trying to land a job as a high-school principal
in South Carolina
, given his crystal clear understanding of priorities:
"During a news conference, [the sheriff] defended the sweep and called it
just as valid as chasing murderers."

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