After receiving tip line complaints that prostitutes were advertising their services locally, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Unit conducted an undercover operation to determine the extent of the criminal activity.
The Special Investigations Unit utilized a website well-known by law enforcement to be used to solicit prostitution. A personal services ad was placed on backpage.com. Soon after the ad posted, the undercover officer’s phone began ringing off the hook, indicating a desire for prostitutes in Flagler County.
“Prostitution is often described as a victimless crime since it appears the two parties are consensual. However, the women are rarely in control of the funds they receive,” Sheriff Staly told Historic City News crime reporters. “Human trafficking plays a significant role in prostitution rings, and these encounters are often laced with drug activity. Many times. the johns are victims of robbery, or the women end up being attacked.”
One defendant, Jeffrey Nowden Jr., arrived at the location with approximately 4.2 grams of crack cocaine and 1.5 grams of a mixture of heroin and fentanyl. He offered the undercover deputy crack cocaine in exchange sex. Nowden was arrested for possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of heroin, soliciting prostitution, violation of probation, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
In addition to Nowden, the following were arrested:
- Jason William Brewer, DOB 11/22/1979, arrested for soliciting prostitution.
- Augusto Dacosta, DOB 1/5/61, arrested for soliciting prostitution.
- Steven Omega Gray, arrested for soliciting prostitution.
- Stephan Lee Hutton-Debaets, DOB 5/9/1989, arrested for soliciting prostitution and violation of probation.
- Omer Muammer Inci, DOB 5/31/1951, arrested for soliciting prostitution.
- Brent Keith Murray, DOB 9/2/1971, arrested for soliciting prostitution.
- Quacy Delano Pinder, arrested for soliciting prostitution.
- Michael Dimitri Rendino, DOB 3/17/1994, arrested for soliciting prostitution.
- Adolfo Renteria, DOB 4/7/1993, arrested for soliciting prostitution and attempted purchase of a controlled substance.
- Raphael Santiago Jr., DOB 2/21/1998, arrested for soliciting prostitution.
- Shawn William Seaverns, DOB 11/20/1981, arrested for soliciting prostitution.
In all, the unit investigated over one-hundred phone calls from men and women. Despite attempts to make arrests, no women showed up to meet the undercover john. However, by the conclusion of the operation, twelve men did respond to the ad and were arrested. Numerous text messages were also received that included images of genitalia.
“The good news for Flagler County is that it does not appear we have prostitutes trying to make a living in our community,” Sheriff Staly said. “The unwelcome news is that there are many people from Flagler County trying to solicit prostitution.”