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Police say prostitution ring operated out of South Tampa house

TAMPA — Charles Fox was the king of his little green house.

In the middle of South Tampa, police say, he ruled a home packed with young women he recruited from bars and restaurants, including Hooters and Applebee's.

Online, in escort ads, he posted pictures of them in lingerie. Guaranteed you won't be disappointed. Then he went to Walmart and packed purses with condoms and hygiene items. He told them how much to charge for sex.

And, police say, he took every cent.

For two years, police tracked suspected pimp Charles M. Fox, 37. Detectives watched him drive young women to West­shore area hotels, waiting outside to collect the cash.

Last month, police arrested him at the Intercontinental Hotel, where they had orchestrated a sting.

Fox was charged with five counts of sex trafficking, four counts of forcing another to become a prostitute, four counts of deriving support from proceeds of prostitution, five counts of unlawful use of a two-way communications device, four counts of renting space for the purpose of prostitution and two counts of sexual battery.

He remained in jail Thursday. Prosecutors say they're reviewing additional charges.

Fox came to Florida four years ago with an armed robbery conviction and prison time in his past. He bought a 2005 Yukon Denali with darkened windows and flashy chrome rims, and he rented a home at Euclid Avenue and Renellie Circle.

Fox ran the operation with a compact laptop and disposable phone, according to police. He told the women: Make client undress first, take cash upfront.

He recruited them through lies and kept them with intimidation, according to the women's statements laid out in several police reports.

A few women told police he promised money. One said Fox told her she'd live the "good life."

One woman known as "Jayda" told police she met Fox at Ybor City's Club Skye in January 2010. He persuaded her to move into his house and promised to help her fight a custody case.

But within a week, he had persuaded her to prostitute for him, police records state.

She later told police that he didn't allow her contact with friends and monitored everything she did. He suggested she get his nickname — Boogy — tattooed on her left hip so she'd be branded, police wrote.

One time he beat her and tied her up, she told police. They took photos of rope burns.

Fox kept other women working with Xanax, alcohol and marijuana, according to the report. He also threatened them, and talk of his violence traveled through the group.

One woman told police Fox regularly beat her, and she often had sex with him against her will.

One woman said she made $18,000 in a month. Another said she averaged $28,000 a month.

Boogy kept it rolled up in $1,000 wads, one of them always in his pocket, police wrote. He told one woman where to find bail money, just in case.

Times staff writer Stephanie Bolling and news researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at (813) 226-3433 or jvandervelde@sptimes.com.

Police say prostitution ring operated out of South Tampa house 08/25/11 [Last modified: Friday, August 26, 2011 12:04am]
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