UPDATE: 5 charged in Florence County prostitution sting - WBTW-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Florence, SC

UPDATE: 5 charged in Florence County prostitution sting

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Images from Florence County Jail. Images from Florence County Jail.
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FLORENCE, S.C. -

UPDATE: One of the men arrested during the October 15, 2013 prostitution sting pled guilty two months after the arrest to a charge of "Disorderly/Public disorderly conduct."  Court records from the Florence Magistrate Court show that Ary Mello - originally arrested and jailed on a "Sex/Prostitution - 1st offense" charge - pled guilty to the lesser charge on December 19, 2013.  The records show Mello paid a fine and court costs of $161.

Below is the original posting from October 16, 2013:

In the late night hours of Tuesday, Florence County sheriff's office narcotics investigators and other agencies  conducted a reverse-prostitution sting at an area hotel located on US 52 near I-95.

The operation was initiated based upon complaints from area motel managers of an increase in prostitution activity in the area, deputies told WBTW.

An undercover female sheriff's deputy posed as a prostitute on a popular web page advertising female escorts. Numerous individuals responded to the ad and 5 suspects arranged for a meeting with the undercover deputy, deputies said.

The 5 suspects were arrested when they verbally agreed to exchange money for the sex acts, deputies said.

One of the 5 brought a small amount of marijuana with him to meet the undercover deputy.

Those charged are: Ary Mello, age 46, of Farmington, CT; Christopher Grooms, age 39, of Bennettsville, Lashon Townes, age 27, of Florence; Marcus Evans, age 34, of Florence and Elvis Colenberg, age 31, of Fayette, Miss.

The Florence County Sheriff's Office PACE team and Florence Police Dept narcotics investigators also assisted in the bust.

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