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Eight are arrested in Web sex operation

By AMY HERDY

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 16, 2001


TAMPA -- Law enforcement officials have accused eight people of being involved in an Internet prostitution ring based in Tampa and North Carolina.

Investigators from Hillsborough, Pinellas and North Carolina said 32-year-old John Robert Hubard, of 8897 Key West Circle in Tampa, and 31-year-old Eric Caldwell of Pfafftown, N.C., were owners of Private Pets Escort Service.

Caldwell was arrested Monday afternoon in North Carolina and detectives said Hubbard was on the run and thought to be in Tennessee. They face prostitution and racketeering charges.

Hubbard designed the Web site that advertised women for a rate of $300 per hour, said Chief Deputy James Coats of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. The women responded to calls in Hillsborough, Pinellas and North Carolina, Coats said.

The women arrested were 33-year-old Michelle Germaine of 143 Glades Circle in Largo, 18-year-old Samantha Noland of 6406 Cresthill Drive in Tampa, 38-year-old Spring Cook of 6407 Heathermoor Court in Tampa, 24-year-old Michele Allen of 14424 Hellenic Drive in Tampa and 21-year-old Amber Griffith of 8715 Long Needles in Tampa.

In addition, 33-year-old Teresa Jones of 116 Dunbridge Drive in Palm Harbor, described as a third owner of the business, was arrested on prostitution and racketeering charges.

The operation was based out of a home in the Fawn Ridge subdivision in Tampa, and in Raleigh, N.C., investigators said.

Some of the women were pregnant and advertised that fact, while others touted their dominatrix skills.

Notes on clients, Coats said, included names, physical descriptions, payment method and sexual preferences.

"I'd be concerned if I was a man who was in that ledger," said Hillsborough sheriff's Maj. Rocky Rodriguez. "Our investigators are very thorough."

- Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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