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Craigslist-based prostitution sting nets 5 arrests in Medford

MEDFORD — Five women were arrested Thursday night on prostitution charges after police conducted a sting operation out of an east Medford home.

Medford police discovered the women through "escort service" ads posted on Craigslist. Police made contact with the women and suggested they meet at the home.

Once there an undercover officer solicited each woman for sex and subsequently arrested them on a charge of prostitution, a misdemeanor, police said.

"We periodically do these sweeps when we receive word that prostitution is an ongoing activity in Medford," said Deputy Chief Tim George.

One of the women traveled from Portland that day, and another was cited for prostitution on her 44th birthday.

Cited on a charge of prostitution were Sarah Jane Reeves, 39, of the 900 block of Laurel Street in Medford; Christine Audrey Nielson, 44, of the 1800 block of Birdseye Creek Road in Gold Hill; Diana Lynn Orey, 40, of the 2400 block of Amaryllis Street in Medford; Annette Marie Wilson, 34, of the 1400 block of Angle Crest Drive in Medford, and Ashley Latroya Berry, 25, of Portland.

Orey was lodged in the Jackson County Jail after officers reportedly found her in possession of methamphetamine. She also had four out-of-county warrants for her arrest.

Wilson was charged with promoting prostitution, a felony, after it was determined she was in charge of one of the girls arrested Thursday night, George said.

"We will continue to keep an eye on Craigslist ads of this type, as well as other escort service Web sites in this area," George said. "We do anticipate conducting more operations such as this one in the future."

The department sometimes focuses on the "john" side of prostitution by writing fake ads purporting to be from prostitutes. They then cite men who respond to the ads. The last "john" sweep was conducted in June 2008.

"We feel we are doing these people a favor by conducting these prostitution sweeps," George added. "It's a dangerous way to make a living and is often tied into drugs and organized crime."

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 776-4471; or e-mail cconrad@mailtribune.com.