GALLIPOLIS — Two women from Mason County, W.Va. pleaded not guilty Tuesday during arraignment in Gallipolis Municipal Court to charges for allegedly attempting to solicit a man over 18 into sexual activity in exchange for money.
Roxanne Russell, 26, of Point Pleasant, W.Va. and Jessica Legg, 28, of Southside, W.Va., were arrested for a crime police have called “procuring,” which according to complaint paperwork is described as “knowingly and for gain to entice or solicit an (individual) … over 18 years of age to patronize a prostitute or brothel.”
Gallipolis Police Department received a tip about the illegal activity taking place at the Regency Inn of Upper River Road. GPD Police Chief Jeff Boyer said on Jan. 13 an undercover agent with the Major Crimes Task Force of Gallia-Meigs met with Russell and Legg at the Regency Inn. The women both allegedly offered sexual favors to the undercover agent in exchange for money and were arrested by task force agents and Gallipolis City Police Officers. Complaint records say the women offered to exchange services for between $120 and $200. Agents would eventually come upon the women in a state of undress, according to the complaint.
According to Gallipolis Municipal Judge Eric Mulford during court proceedings, as the charges leveled at Legg and Russell are considered third-degree misdemeanors, if convicted they could face a potential of up to 60 days in jail, a $500 fine, 200 hours of community service and up to five years of community control.
According to Boyer, during the investigation process, once officers were in the motel room, they seized heroin, money and a cellular device which were in plain sight of the officers. The heroin will be sent to Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation for chemical analysis and a search warrant will be written for the cell phone. Once test results are finalized, the task force will present the case to Gallia County Prosecuting Attorney Jason Holdren for further Gallia Grand Jury considerations.
According to city justice officials, they could not remember within recent memory the last time the municipal court had to process such a case and the last of which may have happened several years ago.
According to press release information, the Major Crimes Task Force of Gallia-Meigs is a state task force under the jurisdiction the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission which is part of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, the task force was formed in September 2013. The task force is formed by the Gallia and Meigs County Sheriff’s Offices, Gallipolis and Middleport Police Departments and the Gallia and Meigs County Prosecutor Offices.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.