Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Two Carroll-area men were among the 48 people arrested this month in a massive prostitution sting in Polk County, sheriff’s officials there announced on Tuesday.

Doyle Gerard Engelen, 53, of Templeton, and Aaron Curtis Petersen, 38, of Audubon, were charged with prostitution on Oct. 17 and 18, respectively.

They both were released on $2,000 bond and have pleaded not guilty. They face up to two years in prison if convicted of the crimes.

The investigation was led by the Mid-Iowa Narcotics Enforcement Task Force, which comprises more than two dozen local, state and federal law-enforcement agencies.

Officials have been tight-lipped about the arrests and have declined to disclose how and where in Polk County the stings were conducted.

“It was quite an undertaking,” said Sgt. Jana Rooker, of the Polk County Sheriff’s office. “There have been other projects like this going on around the state, and I don’t assume that this will be the last one. Releasing that information might jeopardize” the other investigations.

The sheriff’s office sent out press releases Tuesday that included a very brief description of the sting operation and a list of the names, ages and charges of those arrested.

“Goals of this project include identifying drug and human trafficking activity,” the release said.  
Most of those arrested this month were men, but nine were women who range in age from 18 to 44. Most of the women are in their 20s. The men range in age from 23 to 66.

Most of those arrested were charged with prostitution, which under Iowa law includes offering to sell or buy sex.

A woman was also charged with possession of a controlled substance. One man was charged with pandering — for allegedly being a pimp.

Officials have said that they will reveal more information about the sting but did not say when or what information will be released.