OCPD’s Prostitution Bust Targeted Johns With Online Bike-Themed Posts

OCEAN CITY — The 12 arrestees in a weekend-long prostitution sting operation in Ocean City were lured to the resort by responding to false Internet postings under the guise of fictitious names such as Bike Week Beth and Bike Week Beauty.

The Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) Narcotics Unit and Special Enforcement Unit conducted a prostitution sting operation last Thursday night through Saturday night with the help of the Worcester County Criminal Enforcement Team, the Maryland State Police and Homeland Security. A total of 12 arrests were made, mostly for general prostitution, although two also had drug charges.

The suspects were lured into the sting by responding to fictitious Internet postings in sites like craigslist and Backpage, for example, which advertised the exchange of sexual favors for money. For example, one of the false investigatory accounts was entitled Bike Week Beth, while a different posting was advertised as Bike Week Beauty.

In each case, the suspect would respond to an offer on the Internet sites for various sexual favors in exchange for money. OCPD detectives and their allied partners would then exchange emails and text messages with the suspects, setting up times and locations for meetings and arranging the costs for the various services.

In one example, a 42-year-old suspect from Ocean City responded to a posting on craigslist under the heading Bike Week Beth and arranged to meet with the fictitious solicitor at a north-end hotel parking lot. The arrangement in that case was $30 for fellatio. When the suspect arrived at the appointed time and location, OCPD detectives swooped in and arrested him for prostitution.

In another case, a 48-year-old Salisbury man responded to a Bike Week Beth and through a series of emails explained he wanted to stand in front of the solicitor in his “sissy lingerie” and have her make fun of him and humiliate him. The suspect told the solicitor he did not want to have any sexual relations with her and that his “humiliation” would only take about 15 minutes and he would pay her $100.

Most of the cases involved the male suspects arranging to meet with anticipated solicitors at various locations around the resort for sexual favors in exchange for money in the traditional sense. In the one and only case involving a female suspect during the sting, a 34-year-old woman from Cumberland, Md. posted an advertisement on Backpage under the name Alexa Dream stating she was new to the area and was available all weekend.

Through a series of text messages, an undercover OCPD detective arranged to have Alexa Dream meet him at a north Ocean City residence for various sexual favors in exchange for money. When the suspect arrived, she was greeted by the undercover officer. When the detective paid the suspect and the two started to go upstairs, she was taken into custody by other officers hidden in the house and was charged with general prostitution.

Among those arrested during the course of the three-day sting operation were John E. Buffington, 27, of Alexandria, Va.; Obed Cabrera, 25, of Ocean City; Richard Campbell, 45, of Langhorne, Pa.; Mark Defrank, 46, of Kennett Square, Pa.; James Ehrisman, 33, of Berlin; Douglas Entenman, 48, of Dover; Matthew Killam, 48, of Salisbury; Joseph Martini, 52, of Lancaster, Pa.; George O’Neal of Bear, Del.; Michael Price, 42, of Ocean City; James Rasnake, 56, of Severn; and Cristen Thomas, 34, of Cumberland, Md.

Ten of the suspects have been charged with general prostitution and each was released on personal recognizance. Ehrisman was charged with prostitution and possession of narcotics with intent to distribute and was released after posting a $10,000 bond.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.