The Metro Atlanta Child Exploitation Task Force - comprised of the FBI and Marietta, Atlanta and Gwinnett County police - were initially searching for juvenile victims of prostitution on April 4, when they conducted the undercover operation.
They found none, said Marietta Officer Jenny Murphy. But they did charge eight adult females with prostitution and related misdemeanors during the course of their investigation.
The women are: Misty Mull, 31, of Powder Springs; Shirley Long, 21, of Powder Springs; Ivonda Benitez, of Marietta; Maegan Nicole Cox, 23, of Griffin; Brytni Yvette Davis, 19, of Atlanta; Brittni Crabill, 20, of Philadelphia, Pa.; Kayla Shock, 21, of Atlanta; and Stephanie Marie Buggs, 23, of Jonesboro. They were released from Cobb County Jail on bonds ranging from $1,000 to $2,000.
An active warrant is out for the arrest of Tammy Sue Finley of East Ridge, Tenn., Murphy said.
Through adult escort advertisements on websites such as Backpage.com, police tracked down most of the women to the La Quinta Inn at 2170 Delk Road near Cobb Parkway in Marietta, according to arrest warrants. Buggs was arrested at Crestwood Suites at 2030 Roswell Road in Marietta.
Authorities said each of the women agreed to perform sexual intercourse with undercover investigators for between $100 and $200.
In addition to prostitution, Cox was charged with pimping.
"Investigator Doherty met the accused in room 334 of the La Quinta Inn," Cox's warrant stated. "Said accused did unlawfully offer to procure a prostitute for money or receive money or other things of value, without lawful consideration, knowing it was earned in whole or in part from prostitution, to wit: the accused did arrange for a second girl, Brytni Davis, to have sex with Investigator Jon Doherty for an additional $200."
The aim of the investigation was child prostitution, which has been a significant problem in metro Atlanta, said FBI Special Agent Stephen Emmett of Atlanta. However, it's not always easy to identify a child prostitute from the initial evidence, he said.
"We do the best we can to ascertain which ones are likely juveniles," he said.
Established in June 2008, the Metro Atlanta Child Exploitation Task Force searches for juveniles that are being exploited through prostitution and seeks to rescue them and prosecute organized child prostitution enterprises. More than 75 female prostitutes and 14 major pimps have been identified and/or arrested, according to the task force.
"This sting operation on the fourth was in the Marietta area but it moves around," Emmitt said. "Because of the increasing use of the Internet...the traditional red-light districts have somewhat dissolved and the jurisdiction lines from county to county have been blurred. So the MATCH task force gives us the ability to cross, in a more unified fashion, those jurisdictions."