Police make 22 arrests in recent prostitution solicitation sting
Twelve are Laurel residents
Unlike voting, senior citizen discounts and nightclubs, there's no age restriction for soliciting prostitutes as Howard County police were reminded Friday when its undercover operation led to the arrests of 22 men in North Laurel ranging in age from 23 to 82.
Following up on resident complaints, the Howard County Police Department placed female officers in plain clothes from 12:30 to 6 p.m. in targeted areas in North Laurel near Whisky Bottom Road to determine if they would be approached and offered money for sex. Men that made an offer were arrested.
Among them were 12 Laurel residents: Robert Leon Broton Jr., 51; Hector Sanches Cruz, 29; Juan Manuel Vilchi De La Cruz, 29; Tommy David Echard, 42; Ismael Esteva-Martinez, 35; Calvin Nathaniel Hunter, 47; Julio David Prem Martinez, 25; Tulio Renel Perez-Najera, 24; Mario Chave Quintanill, 23; Erick Victelio Silvia, 24; Julio Alberto Vazquez-Barrera, 28; and Eugene David Webster, 61.
Hunter was also charged with resisting arrest.
Also arrested were Lawrence Herbert Whitehead, 82, of Savage; Christian Garcia-Escobort, 25, of Beltsville, Robert James Lindsey, 30, of Lanham and Miguel A. Valasquez-Hernandez, 25, of Hyattsville. The other suspects were from Silver Spring, Columbia, Burtonsville, Glen Burnie and Clarksville.
"We receive comments and complaints of prostitution on a somewhat regular basis," said police spokeswoman Elizabeth Schroen. "In general, residents just see suspicious circumstances in either soliciting for prostitutes or females offering prostitution. We use these undercover operations to quash those types of activities."
Schroen said the 22 arrests were the highest number in recent memory but that it was not unusual to see such a disparity in the suspects' ages.
"In April, we arrested a 77-year-old suspect so I would say it's usual to have a wide range of ages in suspects," Schroen said. "The Route 1 corridor is typically an area where we see a lot of pass-through traffic but in this case all of them were from Maryland."
The suspects face a misdemeanor charge and upon conviction, could face imprisonment for up to one year and a fine not to exceed $500.
Schroen said the department would continue conducting operations as needed.
E-mail Jeffrey K. Lyles at email@example.com.