Prostitution ring draws attention

EVERETT — South Everett business owners aren’t happy with the scantily clad women walking through the neighborhood.

Proprietors have complained to police about a steady increase in prostitutes in the area in recent weeks. They say it’s bad for business and brings crime to the area.

“Business owners have been calling in a lot,” Everett police Sgt. Matt Myers said.

In the past month Everett police officers have noted an increase in prostitution along Casino Road, Evergreen Way, Airport Road and Highway 99, Myers said.

A stream of women from other cities are coming to work the streets of Everett.

“That’s part of the issue we’re facing,” Myers said. “They’re definitely exploiting the market up here.”

None of the seven women police arrested Thursday night in an undercover operation is from Snohomish County, he said. Three are from out of state and the others live in Seattle and Tacoma.

Myers said it wasn’t difficult on Thursday for the undercover officers to find women willing to sell sex. The women were cited for prostitution and all were booked into the Snohomish County Jail. The citation carries a $500 fine and most likely a judge will ban the women from being in certain parts of Everett where prostitution is known to occur. If police spot them in these locations, the women can be arrested.

On Thursday evening, news that undercover officers were around reached other prostitutes quickly. They abandoned their posts for the night after noticing the women who were taken to jail hadn’t returned.

Police say the new prostitutes coming to Everett are arming themselves with knives and pepper spray.

Violence erupted last week between three women with ties to prostitution. The fight broke out on Evergreen Way and left one woman with multiple stab wounds. She was seriously injured and taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Another woman was doused with pepper spray and stabbed. She also was hospitalized.

Through the summer Everett police have worked several undercover operations. Earlier this month police arrested several men in a “John” sting, targeting customers.

“We’ve been active and we’ll continue to be out there,” Myers said.

Reporter Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463 or hefley@heraldnet.com.

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