16 arrested in Pasco prostitution sting

US 19 in New Port Richey targeted

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. - It was a joint operation with the Pasco County Sheriff's Office and New Port Richey police department.

Tuesday they targeted prostitution, and arrested 10 suspected of the crime. Wednesday they turned the tables and it was the alleged johns who went to jail.

Rush hour takes on a whole new meaning along US 19 in New Port Richey.

"I know I talked to that girl, but I didn't want nothing to do with her.  I wasn't picking her up," said one man as he was arrested for solicitation.

Women from the sheriff's office posing undercover as prostitutes walk the streets, back and forth.

And it doesn't take long for men to pull over and offer them money for sex.  

"US 19 seems to be the hotbed for it," said Sgt. Robert Rogers with the Pasco sheriff's office.

Responding to complaints from businesses tired of the seedy transactions going on in their parking lots, authorities set up behind a shopping plaza and watch the constant flow of men approach the women.

"Unfortunately, we can't do it as often as we'd like.  But we are paying attention to the problem," said Rogers.

As soon as one arrest is made, the women get back in position just in time to catch johns from all walks of life.

"They drive all types of vehicles, some are working men, some are unemployed, all races, all ages," said Rogers.

Wednesday's reverse sting was slower than normal, with just six suspected johns arrested.

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