Louisville woman accused of running prostitution business
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Louisville woman has been arrested after police say she ran a prostitution business using a popular website as a marketing tool.
According to an arrest report, the arrest took place Monday just before 8 p.m.
Police say they responded to an ad on Backpage.com and sent a text message to 28-year-old Vanessa Smith, arranging to have sex for $200.
"If you wanted to use the term 'madam,' that's what she would be," said LMPD spokesman Dwight Mitchell.
Smith allegedly sent a text message to meet in a room at the Fern Valley Hotel on Fern Valley Road, near the I-65 interchange, at a specific time.
Police eventually met Smith at the hotel and arrested her. According to the arrest report, Smith told officers she has three female prostitutes working for her and that she sets up all of the meetings, using various hotels.
Police searched the room and allegedly found white powder on a dresser, which Smith identified as cocaine, according to the arrest report.
Smith was arrested and charged with promoting prostitution, prostitution, and possession of a controlled substance, according to the report.
Backpage.com is becoming a very familiar to local police, according to Mitchell.
"It could body rubs, or escort services -- and those things are legal as long as you have a license for them, but oftentimes this leads us to a prostitution ring," he said.
A quick look through WDRB News reports shows at least four of these rings busted in Louisville -- all linked to the same webpage.
"We've seen a rise in it, and there's new methods in doing it, and we're trying to keep up with that," Mitchell said. "And as long as it's an illegal practice, we're going to continue to crack down."
WDRB's Gilbert Corsey talked with hotel managers, and they didn't want to comment on camera. They did say they have had issues with prostitution -- but that comes with any hotel or motel, no matter the size, the quality or the city. They say if they see red flags about what's happening behind closed doors, they call police and they didn't know about this bust on Monday.
Back at jail, Smith's bond is set at $250, but she told the judge that she may stay a while.
"I don't foresee me posting bond," Smith told the judge.
"You'll take care of these charges first?" the judge said.
"That's what I'd like to do, yes," Smith said.
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