AUGUSTA, Ga -- An undercover sting operation targeting prostitution and child sex trafficking netted five arrests in Augusta over the weekend. The FBI says the illegal activity is the target of a special task force made up of local and federal agencies. The Child Exploitation Task Force is in town because of the Masters Golf Tournament.
The FBI said big events like the Masters and the NCAA Final Four bring a lot of people to town, but they also bring an increase in illegal activity in the sex trade. "People come to these events to have a good time," Special Agent Stephen Emmett said. "And some people's definition of a good time differs from what the law's idea of a good time is."
A Metro Atlanta resident was among three women who were arrested. Shatika Monique Nicholson, 27, of Forest Park, Juanita Patrice Croft, 34, of Graniteville, and Ciera Alexis Capell, 26, of Aiken, were charged with Disorderly Conduct Prostitution.
Lilburn resident Sarawin Nath Intakanok, 36, and Russell Donald Benjamin, 45, of North Augusta were charged with Criminal Attempt Child Molestation.
The FBI said the suspects picked the wrong week to allegedly ply their trade in Augusta. They say they see increased activity in child exploitation and sex trafficking during big sporting events.
Last April the Final Four Basketball Tournament was held in Atlanta. A similar task force called "Operation Intentional Foul" netted four arrests on pimping charges, but more importantly seven underage girls who were being pimped, were rescued.
"We've seen that there's a spike in these types of activities during these special events and we're trying to work smarter and a heightened law enforcement presence is a part of that," Special Agent Emmett Said.
The Child Exploitation Task Force is a joint operation conducted by the FBI and the Richmond County Sheriff Office.