HONESDALE—A multi-department prostitution sting resulted in the arrest of 11 individuals including six male “Johns” (those who purchase sex), four female prostitutes and one male pimp, states a release from Wayne County District Attorney (DA) Patrick Robinson.

The arrests occurred Sept. 25 at an undisclosed Wayne County location.

The day-long undercover operation also resulted in numerous calls from males seeking to pay for sex and females willing to provide it for money, sates the DA's release.

Arrests of “Johns” included:

• Brian Merritt, 40, from Honesdale, PA, charged with Patronizing Prostitutes, graded as a Misdemeanor 3 rd degree, and Disorderly Conduct, graded as a summary;

• Jason Nepa, 36, from Jefferson, PA, charged with Patronizing Prostitutes, graded as a Misdemeanor 3rd degree, and Disorderly Conduct, graded as a summary;

• Michael Bauman, 63, from Pittston, PA, charged with Patronizing Prostitutes, graded as a Misdemeanor 3 rd degree, and Disorderly Conduct, graded as a summary;

• John Menapace, 73, from Lake Ariel, PA, charged with Patronizing Prostitutes, graded as a Misdemeanor 3 rd degree, and Disorderly Conduct, graded as a summary;

• David Pomeren, 62, from South Abington, PA, charged with Patronizing Prostitutes, graded as a Misdemeanor 3 rd degree, and Disorderly Conduct, graded as a summary;

• David Ferguson, 36, from Port Jervis, NY, charged with Patronizing Prostitutes, graded as a Misdemeanor 3 rd degree, and Disorderly Conduct, graded as a summary.

Prostitute arrests included:

• Jessica Goodwin, 24, from Scranton, PA, charged with Prostitution, graded as a Misdemeanor 3 rd degree, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, graded as a Misdemeanor, and Disorderly Conduct, graded as a summary;

• Alyssa Giordano, 29, from Bloomfield, NJ, charged with Prostitution, graded as a Misdemeanor 3 rd degree, and Disorderly Conduct, graded as a summary;

• Latasha Valera, 36, from Wilkes-Barre, PA, charged with Promoting Prostitution, graded as a Felony 3 rd degree, and Promoting Prostitution, graded as a Misdemeanor 2 nd degree;

• Samantha Rydzy, 22, from Dupont, PA, charged with Promoting Prostitution, graded as a Felony 3rd degree, and Promoting Prostitution, graded as a Misdemeanor 2nd degree.

Robinson identified the pimp as Prince Rodriguez, 33, of Wilkes Barre.

Rodriguez was charged with two counts of Promoting Prostitution, one a Felony of the 3rd degree and the other a Misdemeanor of the 2 nd degree.

According to Robinson's release, Rodriguez was armed with a loaded 9mm pistol when police arrested him.

Investigation of Rodriguez' car revealed a 12-gauge loaded shotgun, a small amount of marijuana, a 7.62mm semi-automatic rifle with four fully loaded magazines, and a bandolier with several 12-gauge slugs.

Police are still looking into the firearms confiscated in the arrest.

District Magistrate Ronald Edwards arraigned Rodriguez, Valera and Rydzy Tuesday night.

The trio were remanded to the Wayne County Correctional Facility on bail; Rodriguez' was set at $50,000 and bail for the other two was set at $25,000 each.

Their initial court date was set for Wednesday, October 3, at 9 a.m. in the Wayne County Courthouse.

DA Robinson stated in a release, “This Prostitution Sting is a first for Wayne County, at least in the last 25 years that I have worked in the District Attorney’s Office.”

The DA further noted, “... prostitution is not a victimless crime. Prostitution is often associated with Human Trafficking, Illegal Drugs, Guns, and Violence.”

Robinson stated the sting was conducted as a means of raising public awareness about the issue and deterring other from following suit.

“[Buying sex] is a crime and those who are caught will have their mug shots and names published in the media. If these arrests and this Press Release do not deter prostitution and solicitation of prostitutes in Wayne County, I do not know what will.”

Agencies involved in the operation included the Wayne county Drug Task Force – consisting of officers from the Honesdale Borough Police Department, the Wayne County Sheriff's Department, the Hawley Borough Police Department and the Lehigh Township Police Department – Wayne County Children and Youth Services, the Monroe County Detectives Office, the Pike County Detectives Office, the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force and the Truth Home – an organization devoted to victims of sex trafficking.

Robinson thanked the above agencies, especially the Monroe County Detectives whose past experience with prostitution stings “...was indispensable to the success of this operation.”

--Information from a release was used in this story.