Kadlec pediatrician is 1 of 10 arrested in Tri-Cities prostitution sting
TRI-CITIES, Wash.— It's another major sex bust in our area. Police arrested 10 people in a prostitution sting this weekend in the Tri-Cities.
Action News talked to Richland police about this undercover investigation that led to a local pediatrician and others behind bars.
"On any given day you could go on various different forums and find a prostitute," Richland Police Lt. Chris Lee said.
Lee said there is a market for prostitution in the Tri-Cities.
That's why the Richland Police Street Crimes Unit, along with Kennewick Police and the Benton County Sheriff's Office, led an undercover investigation targeting prostitutes and their customers.
"The old days where you'd see street walkers isn't what you'd see nowadays," Lee said.
Instead, he said criminals are surfing the internet.
“It’s more electronic, on social media,” he said. “They've gone technically savvy with their operations."
Police arrested four women and six men in an online prostitution sting in the Tri-Cities this weekend.
All of them posting or responding to sex ads online, and meeting up with undercover cops at local hotels to pay or receive this illegal service.
After discussing payments for the service, and exchanging money an arrest signal was given, and suspects were arrested by the arrest team who were waiting in the next room.
One of the men arrested was a Dr. Nana Kwame Asiedu Ofei, a pediatrician at Kadlec.
Kadlec offered a statement saying:
“We do not have information beyond what was reported in the media. We understand that the charges stem from conduct outside of the workplace and this does not involve patient care. He has been placed on administrative leave, but beyond that we will not comment without further information. Our clinic manager is working to reschedule all upcoming care appointments.”
The other suspects include:
- Garry Dean Gorsuch, 57, Kennewick
- Mark Allen Phillips, 38, Elgin
- Michael Lake, 53, Pasco
- Vincent Anthony Walker, 25, Richland
- Kathrine Marie Vailencour, 20, Kennewick
- Linda Jeanne Silver-Garrett, 60, Kennewick
- Silla AnnmarieLockridge, 33, Kennewick
- Luz Maria Gutierrez, 47, Wapato
- Greggory John Tevelde (pending additional charges)
The men and women were being held at Benton County Jail. The women were charged with prostitution; men were charged with soliciting prostitution.
Nine of the suspects had their first court appearance Monday, and their next court date is Sept. 1.
Benton Franklin Superior Court Judge Shea-Brown approved the $5,000 bail amount.
The 10th suspect, Greggory Tevelde, is still in jail on a 72-hour hold with additional drug charges pending.
Police said prostitution tends to bring with it other crimes.
"Whether its narcotics related, robberies or people being assaulted. and the human trafficking element of this as well," Lee said.
By targeting individuals involved in prostitution, Lee said they hope to reduce overall crime on the streets.
However, he says local law enforcement is focusing on sex crimes because they are working to eliminate human sex trafficking in our area, which is a major problem.
"A lot of people will view prostitution as a victimless crime, it’s an individual out, doing this on their own," he said.
However, he said they've seen pimps force women into to the business.
Officers are working to identify victims being forced into the sex trade against their will and get them out of this dangerous lifestyle.