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Pittsburgh officer linked with prostitution, drug operation

A Pittsburgh policeman was arrested on Monday on charges of promoting prostitution and driving women to make drug buys and giving them the money.

Michael C. Johns, 43, of Brookline was arraigned in Night Court on those charges as well as conspiracy, insurance fraud, making false reports to law enforcement and obstruction of justice.

Johns, a 16-year veteran of the police force, was released on his own recognizance to await a preliminary hearing scheduled next Tuesday in Pittsburgh Municipal Court.

Police placed him paid administrative leave and he will face internal discipline, police spokeswoman Diane Richard said. Johns was assigned to the warrant office when the bureau learned of the investigation, she said.

He was arrested after Allegheny County Police say they found Internet ads with messages such as, "Looking for a classy girl• We're the cream of the crop. Spend the night with us until 6 am, xoxo," that were billed to Johns at his home address, the criminal complaint states.

Detectives said they followed Johns as he drove two people to the North Side in a cab on Saturday where they purchased heroin.

A criminal complaint states that the investigation began early on April 24 when Brentwood police stopped a rental car driven by a man who had the name Alivia Kail written on a piece of paper. Kail is the 19-year-old Mt. Washington woman who has been missing since March when she left her brother's home and said she was going to Florida with her boyfriend.

A woman in the car told police that the vehicle — which contained drugs and sexual paraphernalia — was rented by her boyfriend, Johns, the complaint states.

There is no indication that Johns, the man or the woman were involved in Kail's disappearance.

The complaint also states:

A witness told police that Johns gave cell phones to promote her "shows and deals" and posted online ads for these activities on his computer, using his credit cards to pay for the ads.

Another witness said she was driving to a job in Etna in a vehicle Johns rented when she hit a tree. Johns told the insurance company that the vehicle was damaged by a hit-and-run motorist.

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