Authorities bust suspected hookers
Authorities on Thursday arrested four people on sex charges, alleging that they were involved in a prostitution ring in Park City, a surprise bust in a community where such crimes are rarely reported.
The arrests, a result of a sting operation by a consortium of area law-enforcement agencies, came after an investigation stretching since last summer, Rick Ryan, a Park City Police Department lieutenant, said.
( Andrea Veronica Thornton, 21, from Salt Lake City. She faces a charge of sexual solicitation, a class A misdemeanor. Ryan said she was previously convicted on prostitution charges in Utah and California. She also was charged with a count of operating a business without a license, a class B misdemeanor, and cocaine possession, a third-degree felony. Ryan said Thornton also was wanted on an arrest warrant for an alcohol charge.
( Paola Eunice Molina, 23, from Salt Lake City. The authorities charged Molina with sexual solicitation conspiracy, a class C misdemeanor, operating without a business license, which is a class B misdemeanor, and aiding prostitution, a class B misdemeanor. Molina was Thornton’s chauffeur, Ryan said.
( Sarah Margaret Schell, 19, from Ogden. She is charged with sexual solicitation, which is a class B misdemeanor, and operating without a business license, also a class B misdemeanor.
( Gary Linh McFarland, 36, from Roy. He is charged with sexual solicitation conspiracy, which is a class C misdemeanor, operating without a business license, a class B misdemeanor, and aiding prostitution, which is a class B misdemeanor.
"The things that come with prostitution drugs, violence are things we don’t want in this community," Ryan said.
Thornton and Molina worked for Independent Escorts in Salt Lake City and the other two women worked for Fantasy Escorts in Ogden, Ryan said.
Ryan said the authorities received tips about a prostitution ring last summer and last fall, started investigating and targeted escort services from the Salt Lake Valley that were operating in Park City.
On Jan. 8, Police Department detectives investigating the case visited a Web site called naughtynightlife.com, which advertised an escort service in Park City, Ryan said. The investigators called and e-mailed the outfit and a detective arranged to meet an escort in a Park Meadows condominium on Jan. 12. Ryan said at about 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 12, Thornton and Molina arrived, agreed to perform a sex act for between $180 and $500 and were arrested. The other two were arrested in a similar sting in the condominium at 10:40 p.m., Ryan said.
Ryan said the authorities plan to pursue charges against the owners of the escort services.
Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds said people working for escort services are warned. He said the authorities are investigating other cases in Park City and Kimball Junction.
"I hope it sends a message to pimps and prostitutes we are looking for you. We are proactively trying to bust you," he said.
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