For Immediate Release
Monday, March , 2015
Contact: John Guilfoil
Merrimac Police Arrest Couple Who Allegedly Ran Prostitution Ring from Their House
Long-Term Investigation Aims to Improve Quality of Life in Town
MERRIMAC — Police Chief Eric M. Shears reports that the Merrimac Police Department arrested a man and woman on Friday who were allegedly running a prostitution ring out of their home.
ROBERT D. JONES, AGE 32, OF MERRIMAC and MARIE SUE SHELLEY, AGE 28, OF MERRIMAC were arrested Friday after a thorough, three-month investigation into quality of life concerns in their neighborhood.
SHELLEY was charged with Sexual Conduct for a Fee and Keeping a Noisy and Disorderly House.
JONES had an outstanding warrant out of New Hampshire for Possession of Heroin, Possession of Clonazepam, Making False Statements to Police, and Volation of Probation. He was charged with:
- Deriving Support from Prostitution
- Keeping a Noisy and Disorderly House
- Carrying a Dangerous Weapon
- Being a Fugitive from Justice
Merrimac Police have been engaged in an ongoing investigation into the house at 24 Nichols St. since December 2014, which is owned by a relative of JONES, and where JONES and SHELLEY are known to reside.
The police department has noticed an increase in traffic and has fielded a number of tips regarding this home. Officers have also noted numerous vehicles and lone men coming and going from the house during the investigation, day and night.
Investigators also observed JONES walking around the vehicles of SHELLEY’S alleged “johns,” checking for unlocked doors, while they were inside with SHELLEY.
On Friday, March 6, Merrimac Police Officer Robert Coppola applied for and received a search warrant for the home. With the assistance of the Massachusetts State Police, Merrimac Police set up an undercover operation, with an officer replying to an add posted, alleged by SHELLEY on Craigslist.
During a meeting, SHELLEY allegedly offered to perform a sexual act on an undercover State Trooper for $100. Officers then moved in and arrested SHELLEY and JONES.
“This case is the culmination of months of diligent investigative work by Merrimac Police Officers, who are dedicated to improving the quality of life in their community,” Chief Shears said. “I commend our officers for their hard work in shutting down this nefarious operation.”
Chief Shears also wishes to acknowledge the Massachusetts State Police, State Troopers Assigned to Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s Office, and the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.
JONES was ordered held on $5,000 cash bail. SHELLEY was ordered held on $2,000 cash bail. Both are expected to be arraigned later today in Newburyport District Court.