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8 arrested in Lawrence County prostitution ring

Published: Aug. 8, 2016 at 5:01 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 10, 2016 at 9:10 AM CDT
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Kathryn Walters Alexander, Jaron Antonio Townsend, Jennifer Lynn Medley and Melissa Joan...
Kathryn Walters Alexander, Jaron Antonio Townsend, Jennifer Lynn Medley and Melissa Joan Baldwin (Source: Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office)

MOULTON, AL (WAFF) - Law enforcement agencies with Lawrence County conducted a joint effort undercover prostitution investigation that resulted in a total of eight people being arrested, drugs being seized and a stolen handgun being recovered.

Investigators tell us seven females were arrested on prostitution charges, with five of them facing drugs charges ranging from felony possession to felony distribution.

The arrested were:

  • Jennifer Lynn Medley 32, of  Huntsville is charged with possession of a controlled substance (heroin), promoting prostitution and possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Jana Denise Earls 36, of Huntsville is charged with possession of a controlled substance (meth), promoting prostitution and possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Ashley Nicole Murphy 26 of Huntsville is charged with possession of a controlled substance (meth), promoting prostitution and possession of drug paraphernalia. Her bond is set at $5,000.
  • Kathryn Walters Alexander 31, of Tanner is charged with distribution of a controlled substance (marijuana), possession of marijuana, promoting prostitution and possession of drug paraphernalia. Her bond is set at $8,000.
  • Melissa Joan Baldwin 31, of Athens is charged with distribution of a controlled substance (marijuana), possession of marijuana, promoting prostitution and possession of drug paraphernalia.
  • Marquita Nadine Byrd 28 of Huntsville is charged with promoting prostitution. Her bond is set at $1,500.
  • Precious Darnika Humphreys 25, of Huntsville is charged with promoting prostitution. Her bond is set at $1,500.
  • Jaron Antonio Townsend 38, of Huntsville is charged with possession of a pistol by a violent felon

Lawrence County Sheriff Gene Mitchell tells us the arrests were a result of an undercover prostitution investigation being conducted by Drug Task Force agents. During the investigation, agents learned about a website that allowed users to be able to make contact with females willing to engage in sexual intercourse in exchange for money and in some cases, users would be able to purchase illegal narcotics and engage in sexual intercourse.

During this investigation, agents were able to arrange for several females to come to a local Moulton motel to engage in sexual intercourse. Sheriff Mitchell said that agents were able to arrange for one of the females to provide an undercover with a quarter ounce of high grade marijuana and sexual intercourse involving two female participants.

Mitchell said during this investigation, agents arranged for the females to meet with the undercover in a local motel room. When the females met with the undercover, agents would allow the prostitution money part of the transaction to occur before a take down team would move in to make the arrest.

Sheriff Mitchell said that the females involved in the undercover operation were charging anywhere from $200 - $400 an hour, depending on what the client requested or how many participants that the client wanted involved in the sex act.

Mitchell said one of the arrest was due to the suspect being involved in the transportation of the females to the transaction location. Townsend was arrested after agents conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle in which he was operating, due to him dropping off two of the females at the motel to conduct the sex act with the undercover.

During the traffic stop, agents located a handgun in the vehicle that was found to have been reported stolen out of Florida. Agents later learned that Townsend had been convicted of at least two violent crimes and that Townsend was currently on state probation for one of the crimes.

During the booking stage of the operation, agents learned that several of the females were on state probation.

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