SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – Eight men have been arrested in an undercover prostitution sting.

Several local agencies coordinated an online undercover john sting operation, targeting those who solicit prostitutes in the Smith County area.

The following people were arrested:

  • Kenderson Thompson, 38 (LaRue)
  • Victor Luna, 51 (Tyler)
  • Erick Reneux, 44 (Gilmer)
  • Joel Vargas, 35 (Tyler)
  • Manuel Huerta, 33 (Jacksonville)
  • Alejandro Gaona, 31 (Tyler)
  • Tyler Delley Ross, 25 (Tyler)
  • Barry Broussard, 56 (Tyler)

According to the Smith County Criminal District Attorney’s Office, human traffickers have moved their criminal enterprises online in recent years, soliciting prostitution through ads on various websites and apps.

“In an effort to decrease the demand for prostitution, law enforcement agencies across the state have been conducting undercover john stings to raise awareness of the problem and deter individuals from attempting to buy sexual services from trafficking victims,” a press release from SCCDA’s office said.

The sting happened on May 20 – 21 as a collaborative effort between the Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigations Division Special Agents along with Smith County Sheriff’s Office, Tyler Police Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Smith County Criminal District Attorney’s Office.