Six months after authorities from across the state converged in Coralville for a prostitution sting and human trafficking investigation that netted 16 arrests, officers have made another arrest in connection with the operation.
Sarah Beth Long, 21, of Cedar Rapids, was arrested early Monday on suspicion of prostitution after authorities said they responded to an adult escort advertisement during their April 10 sting in Coralville.
According to a criminal complaint, the ad contained pictures of Long, using the pseudonym “Megan,” posing in her underwear and in a bikini. After being contacted by undercover officers, Long arrived at a designated meeting place with a man she said was her pimp in a Dodge Charger with two other female prostitutes, according to the complaint.
Long is accused of entering a hotel room and agreeing to have sex with an undercover officer in exchange for money, police reported.
Iowa City Lt. Doug Hart said Long was detained in April, at the time of the sting, but she was not arrested as detectives needed to follow up on some leads before having enough evidence to arrest.
After she was let go in April, according to the criminal complaint, Long continued to post advertisements on the Internet. Following her arrest Monday, police reported that Long has admitted to exchanging sex for money several times over the last four to five months, according to the complaint.
Long is no longer being held at the Johnson County Jail, according to officials with the Sheriff’s Office.
The April investigation, which aimed to catch uncover human trafficking, tapped more than 20 agencies and brought more than 30 officers to Coralville. Coralville police Lt. Shane Kron at the time said the sting netted so many suspected violators that, “We had to let some arrests go.”
He also said the operation could continue for months as officers follow up on leads, and more arrests could come.
The original 16 people arrested in connection with the sting came from 12 communities as far away as Milwaukee, Wis. They ranged in age from 20 to 58. Among those arrested were three local medical professionals, two University of Iowa students and a woman accused of selling her teenage sister for sex.
Melody McCullom, 22, of Waterloo, faced felony charges of pimping, pandering involving a minor, human trafficking and prostitution after she admitted to operating an online business that nets thousands of dollars a week, according to a criminal complaint.
McCullom also admitted to using her 16-year-old sister in her business and to taking money from the teen.
McCullom in September was sentenced to five years on supervised probation after pleading guilty to pandering involving a minor and pimping. She could have faced up to 15 years in prison, but McCullom was allowed to serve her sentence in the community so she could receive treatment.
Some of the other men and women arrested in April have pleaded guilty and settled their cases in court. Others are still working their way through the system.