Authorities: 2 arrested on prostitution charges in Cheatham County

Crime Tracker

CHEATHAM COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – Cheatham County authorities have issued a stern warning about drugs and prostitution after a holiday bust.

Cheatham County Detective, Ken Miller warned drugs are at the heart of 90-percent of all crime there.

The arrest he’s referring to began the night of July 5 as a traffic stop.

Authorities said the traffic stop turned into an investigation regarding the allegation of trading drugs for sex.

Body cam from Cheatham County Deputy, Martin Aubrey, showed him approaching a vehicle stopped for speeding on a road near the Cheatham Dam.

The deputy told the couple that he stopped them for doing 33 miles-per-hour (mph) in a 20 mph zone.

Authorities said 58-year-old Jerry Speight, from Wingo, Kentucky was the driver.

Speight told authorities he was driving a relatives car and did not immediately know where his insurance and registration were located.

The deputy asked Speight what he was doing there. Speight replied, “Going down here, turning around, coming back.”

Authorities said 21-year-old Traci Michelle Markum was in the passenger seat.

The deputy asked Markum how long she has known Speight. Markum replied, “A couple of weeks.”

The Deputy asked Markum if she knew where Speight is from. She told authorities she does not, but added that he was a pretty cool guy.

In a separate interview, the deputy asked Speight how long he’s known Markum.

Speight said, “About six months is all.”

Speight told the deputy he’s a truck driver from out of state.

The deputy quickly began to ask about possible sex for money or drugs as a motive for the couple being on this remote stretch of road.

The deputy asked, “So you do favors for her and she gives you sexual favors?”

Speight replied saying, “A little “expletive” now and then…”

Cheatham County law officers said they’re familiar with Markum.

Lt. Ken Miller said, “She has a little misdemeanor arrest for this that and the other, yes sir, some of them are for drugs.”

The Deputy continued to press the couple about why they were at the location.

Markum replied, “We’re just riding down here. He just picked me up.”

The deputy told Markum what Speight said he was expecting and Markum said, “I am definitely not doing that.”

The couple give consent for the deputies to access their phones.

After reading text messages, the deputies believe the couple were on this road to engage in an act of prostitution.

Another deputy told Speight, “Right now, it is looking like you are paying for sex.”

On body cam, the 21-year-old admitted she had done drugs with the 58-year-old before.

“I’ve asked him to give me money before, and he’s given me dope before.” Markum then denied allegations of prostitution.

When asked yet again what they are doing on this dark road, Markum said, “We just hang out some times. We have before and it’s not for money or anything.”

When asked about cash or drugs for sex, Markum said, “We never had like a set in stone like a, you give me money and I’ll do this for you.”

The deputy said, “I understand that. But it is explicitly implied based on the messages we are reading.”

Deputies then put Speight in their squad car and asked him where the drugs he had for Markum were located. Speight said he did not have any.

Lt. Ken Miller said meetings involving alleged prostitution and drugs can go sideways quickly.

Miller said, “90-percent of the time, everything we are dealing with for investigative purposes has something to do with drugs.”

Lt. Miller said he has worked cases that started as prostitution calls and quickly turned into rapes or murders.

“I’ve seen numerous rapes, people meet for a drug deal and it turns into a rape. I have worked two homicides from a drug deal or a prostitution deal the woman was going to exchange sex for the drugs. The man wasn’t there for the drugs, he was there for the sex and to keep her from telling he forced her for sex he killed her, strangled her in a hotel. “

Both suspects were arrested. Markum was charged with prostitution. Speight was charged with solicitation.

Metro Police confirmed that Markum also has a warrant for bond violation out of Nashville.

  • Speight and Markum in Cheatham County

This is a developing story. Stay with News 2 and WKRN.com for updates.

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