Officers from the Surfside Beach Police Department arrested five suspects during a four-hour overnight anti-prostitution operation which wrapped up early Friday morning.
The undercover operation culminated more than a week of online investigation into prostitution conducted via online message boards and classified advertising sites, and resulted in charges ranging from Prostitution, Carrying a Concealed Weapon, and Possession of Schedule II Drugs.
Surfside police arrested and charged Kristine Marie Reynolds, 22, of Myrtle Beach, Kim Renee Timmerman, 52, of Myrtle Beach, and Christina Olivia Long, 19, of Conway with Prostitution.
Mary Lee Denham, 53, of Myrtle Beach, was charged with Prostitution and two counts of Possession Schedule II Drugs.
James Kenneth Goodenow, 41, of Myrtle Beach, charged with Carrying a Concealed Weapon.
The operation utilized undercover officers posing as "Johns" to respond to adult escort ads posted online.
Three of the suspects, Reynolds, Long and Denham were arrested in a hotel room after officers developed probable cause to believe that the suspects had offered sex in exchange for money, according to a police report.
Goodenow, who had accompanied Reynolds to the entrance of the hotel was arrested in the parking lot carrying a "slapjack" in his pocket.
Officers also arrested Timmerman in the parking lot as she waited for Denham, according to police.
Surfside Beach Chief of Police Mike Frederick said that operations like these are important because of the dangers imposed on a community any time prostitution is allowed to operate unchecked.
"Most agencies have to do this," Frederick said, "to defend the quality of life in the communities we're sworn to protect. It's not just the prostitution, but the attendant crime we know tags along drugs, assaults, and robberies."
Frederick added that prostitution is a pervasive problem just about everywhere, and he views operations like these as "community maintenance."