8 people arrested in Porterville prostitution sting

PORTERVILLE, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Porterville prostitution sting landed eight people in handcuffs Thursday night.

Seven women were booked, cited, and released for prostitution, but as of Friday afternoon, Basim Hamid was still locked up in the Tulare County Jail. Police say he was a wanted man in Tulare and Kings Counties, and on Thursday night, he drove one of the prostitutes to an undisclosed Porterville hotel.

It's where Porterville Police narcotics and investigations units, with the help of the Fresno FBI office and the Tulare County District Attorney's Office, were waiting-- they were putting on an undercover prostitution sting.

Leading up to the detail, detectives used explicit online advertisements to identify prostitution suspects in the Central Valley.

"As a result, we made contact with seven different women, all of whom agreed to come to our city and exchange sex for money," said Porterville Police Sgt. Rick Carrillo.

The suspects range in age from 21 to 47, and are from Bakersfield, Tulare, and Fresno.

Carrillo says the sting was the culmination of a months-long, multi-agency investigation. It began earlier this year when authorities received tips of possible prostitution happening at Porterville hotels.

"We're a very, very wholesome very, very patriotic community and we don't want that taking place in our jurisdiction," Carrillo said.

Carrillo says prostitution can also come with drug activity. But besides previous drug-related warrants for Hamid, there were no new drug charges during the detail, and no evidence of human trafficking.
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