Three charged in Internet prostitution sting in Aberdeen


A man and two women were arrested Thursday in a police prostitution sting after detectives made arrangements through an Internet site to meet the suspects at an Aberdeen motel room.

One of the two women was charged with human trafficking in connection with her having allegedly driven a younger woman to the motel for prostitution, according to police charging documents.

Facing the human trafficking charge is Brandi Branch, 38, of the 9400 block of Slidinghill Road in Ashland, Va.; she is also charged with prostitution and illegal possession of marijuana, police said.

The human trafficking charge stems from her having allegedly brought a younger prostitution suspect, Haley M. Russell, 20, of the 200 block of North Church Street in Charlestown, W.Va., to the Aberdeen motel room, police said. Russell faces a single charge of prostitution.

The man charged in the case, Ian W. Taylor, 22, of the 100 block of Galaxy Court in Martinsburg, W.Va., waited in a van while the two women entered the motel room where the detectives were waiting, charging documents say. When he was arrested and charged with prostitution and conspiracy to commit prostitution, police say they found in his possession a cellular telephone that had been in contact with a phone used by an undercover detective to arrange the encounter.

Police charging documents give the following account of the events leading to the arrests:

Early Thursday afternoon, the two detectives responded to an online ad offering "east coast finest exotic lady lucky edgewood-20" and a second ad entitled "Big Booty Miss Snow White." One of the detectives called the numbers in the advertisements and made arrangements to meet the two women in a room at the Clarion Hotel in the 900 block of Hospitality Way in Aberdeen.

About two hours later, back-up officers took up positions in adjacent motel rooms and one of the two detectives, who placed the initial call, met the two women in the room, telling them that the other had been called into work.

One of the women allegedly took $420 offered in advance by the detective in exchange for sex. The detective then signaled backup officers to close in; other officers also surrounded the van in which the three suspects had arrived at the motel.

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