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Three Fort Hood soldiers among those arrested during prostitution sting

TOP LEFT TO RIGHT:  Billy Williams, Brian Turner, Eric Kilton, Christopher Knox, James...
TOP LEFT TO RIGHT: Billy Williams, Brian Turner, Eric Kilton, Christopher Knox, James Gradys BOTTOM LEFT TO RIGHT: Francisco Tamez, Mark Williams, Marc Sanon, Shane Pagel, Michael Morris(Bell County Sheriff's Office)
Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 3:25 PM CDT
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BELL COUNTY, Texas (KWTX) - Investigators with the Bell County Sheriff’s Office, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and military police at Fort Hood arrested ten men, including three Fort Hood soldiers, during a sex trafficking and prostitution sting on September 14 and September 16 in the Temple and Killeen areas.

Authorities identified the ten suspects as Billy Williams, Brian Turner, Eric Kilton, Christopher Knox, James Gradys, Francisco Tamez, Mark Williams, Marc Sanon, Shane Pagel, and Michael Morris.

An assistant chief deputy with the sheriff’s office and a Fort Hood spokesman both identified Knox, Sabin and Gradys as the Fort Hood soldiers.

The arrests were made with the help of undercover female deputies who participated in the so-called John Suppression Initiative Operation.

“The purpose of the operation is to crack down on sex trafficking and to identify and arrest individuals seeking sexual acts in exchange for money in Bell County,” authorities said.

During the operation, authorities placed advertisements in websites that attract people interested in paying for sex.

Investigators targeted “Johns” responding to advertisements, “ultimately, attacking the demand side of prostitution,” officials said.

“If there is no demand, there is no need for the service.”

Law enforcement agencies remind the public Texas just became the first state to make a first-time solicitation of prostitution offense a felony.

H.B. 2975 took effect on September 1, 2021.

Anyone offering or agreeing to engage in sexual conduct in exchange for a fee will no longer be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. Now, they will be charged with a state jail felony.

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