Prostitution sting nets five arrests ahead of Masters tourney

The Augusta ChronicleApril 9, 2014 

Patrons relax near the big oak tree during Tuesday's practice round of The Masters at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, GA, Tuesday, April 8, 2014.

GERRY MELENDEZ — gmelendez@thestate.com

An undercover sting targeting prostitution and child predators netted five arrests, authorities said Saturday.

The arrests come as thousands of visitors head to Augusta for this week's Masters golf tournament.

Juanita Patrice Croft, 34, of Gran­iteville; Ciera Alexis Capell, 26, of Aiken; and Shatika Monique Nicholson, 27, of Forest Park, Ga.; are charged with disorderly conduct prostitution, according to a statement from the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

Russell Donald Benjamin, 45, of North Augusta, and Sarawin Nath Intakanok, 36, of Lilburn, Ga., are charged with criminal attempt child molestation.

All five were booked into the Charles B. Webster Detention Center on Saturday.

The sting was a joint operation conducted by the sheriff's office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Sporting events such as The Masters and the Final Four have become a hot spot for such illegal activities.

Federal authorities say 25 people were arrested last week as a result of an investigation into child prostitution in North Texas, the site of the NCAA Final Four.

FBI spokeswoman Katherine Chaumont said Tuesday that 18 law enforcement agencies were involved in the four-day operation last week in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Three people who solicited children for sex were arrested, as were 18 people looking to pay for sex and four others for selling prostitutes.

Chaumont says five girls ages 16 and 17 were discovered by authorities and offered shelter and other support services. Some of them had run away from home.

Dozens of women were found to be working as prostitutes and Chaumont says services also were offered to them.

She says the purpose of the operation was to identify victims of child prostitution and also those victimizing children.

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