Over the course of two weeks, the Harris County Sheriff's Department cuffed 100 "johns" looking for prostitutes, more than any other department in a national sting operation involving 37 law enforcement agencies across 17 states. HCSO says the arrests came during the ninth "National Day of Johns Arrests."
Swept up in the local sting were public employees like Steven Spoon, a reserve deputy in San Jacinto County, Houston firefighter Jerry White and Tommy Austad, a chief inspector for Harris County Public infrastructure. Officials say the sting ran for about two weeks, from January 15 through February 1, and resulted in a total of 570 arrests nationwide. That means, out of dozens of law enforcement agencies across 17 states, Harris County arrested a whopping one-fifth of the suspects caught during the operation.
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A Chicago-area sheriff's office began the "National Day of Johns Arrests" stings back in 2011. The coalition -- using fake ads on classified sites like Backpage.com and Craigslist to lure in criminals -- is one the largest operations of its kind in the country. Officials say the sting has resulted in some 2,900 arrests over the past four years.