14 arrested in New Haven prostitution sting

From top left: Gerrica Nichols, Roxanne Raccio, Jessica Hernandez, Jade Olsen and Antoinette Neal.
From middle left: Brenda Martinez, Teresa Mercer, Jennifer Ballester, Leila River and Joanna Rivera.
From bottom left: Jyreete Greene, Dorothy Miller and Kelli Spencer.
(Photos provided by New Haven police)
From top left: Gerrica Nichols, Roxanne Raccio, Jessica Hernandez, Jade Olsen and Antoinette Neal. From middle left: Brenda Martinez, Teresa Mercer, Jennifer Ballester, Leila River and Joanna Rivera. From bottom left: Jyreete Greene, Dorothy Miller and Kelli Spencer. (Photos provided by New Haven police)


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Police have arrested 14 women who they say were engaging in prostitution in several New Haven neighborhoods.

Beer bottles and dime bags, some of the byproducts of prostitution. That’s one of the reasons New Haven police launched a massive undercover operation targeting prostitution. Police say they have been receiving more and more complaints from residents in the city’s Fair Haven and Dwight-Kensington neighborhoods.

Suman Luthra has been living in Fair Haven for more than 15 years, and she makes sure she is done with her nightly walk before the sun sets.

“I don’t go that late, but I do see people sitting there for hours and hours,” said Luthra.

Police say it typically happens in neighborhoods with higher levels of existing street crime and say it is indirectly connected to other crimes, such as drug distribution, robbery and trespassing.

“People want their neighborhoods back and we will do everything possible to make that happen,” said Detective Lieutenant Herbert Johnson.

The stings aren’t over. The first round of undercover operations targeted the street walkers, but next, police say they will be going after the Johns.

The following 13 women were charged with prostitution:
Monica Woodward, 27, of New Haven
Gerrica Nichols, 25, of New Haven
Jessica Hernandez, 39, of New Haven
Jyreete Greene, 32, of New Haven
Antoinette Neal, 24, of New Haven
Brenda Martinez, 45, of New Haven
Jade Olsen, 32, of New Haven
Roxanne Raccio, 55, of New Haven
Jennifer Ballester, 33, of New Haven
Leila Rivera, 49, of New Haven
Teresea Mercer, 50, of New Haven
Joanna Rivera, 39, of New Haven
Dorothy Miller, 59, of New Haven

Police say Kelli Spencer, 36, of New Haven was charged with drug possession.

New Haven Police Department Media Liaison David Hartman says he hopes as the women go through the court system, they get access to the services they need to get off the streets.

“We are trying to make sure that those involved in the sex trade aren’t going to be victimized any further and we want to make sure that kids walking to school aren’t walking by used condoms on the street,” said Hartman.