Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Police bust Tennessee family-run prostitution ring

Prostitution is something more common in big cities, but Metro Police detectives and FBI agents busted a family-run prostitution ring in Murfreesboro, Tenn. today.

The ring was run by Teresa Ann West, 45, her son Casey, 20, and daughter Diana, 22. Police said the trio have been using underage teenagers from Middle Tennessee high schools as prostitutes.

After receiving information earlier this year, police began conducting surveillance at a Murfreesboro Motel 6 in early August.

As of now, Metro's Specialized Investigations Division and the FBI have only accused the trio of using one 16-year-old high school girl to perform sexual acts, however, other underage victims are believed to be involved.

Police finally got their chance to question Teresa West after setting up surveillance at a Motel 6 on Chaffin Place. The reported that officers watched West leave a room key card on a wall in the parking lot and leave the area.

A little later, a 16-year-old girl drove to the motel and went into West's room, using the key card. Metro detectives and FBI agents then entered the room and interviewed the 16-year-old girl. The girl said she had had sex for money at the direction of Teresa West about 20 to 30 times this summer.

The victim said that clients usually paid $110 and she gave West $40. She said West knew she was underage but told her to tell people she was 18 if anyone asked.

Teresa Ann West is charged in state court with trafficking for sexual servitude and promoting prostitution. She is also charged in federal court, along with her son, Casey, 20 and daughter Diana, 22, with using a minor for commercial sex.

Casey West is alleged to have driven the teenager to a client and received a $20 fee from her. The girl said she has given money to Casey West on other occasions as well. Diana West, 22, is alleged to have assisted in the operation of the prostitution business.

Parents of teenagers, particularly in the Robertson County area, who are or were friends with Casey, Diana or Teresa West, are urged to talk with their children and inquire whether they have any knowledge regarding the prostitution business.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Metro SID Detective Chad Holman at 615-782-3301. Underage persons involved in this matter are considered to be victims.