A Maryland prostitution sting that combined the efforts of federal agents from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), a division of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and local and state police departments. The sting netted 23 arrests in total. The Baltimore Sun reports that this Jessup, MD joint sting operation was part of an effort to target human trafficking. The men arrested allegedly solicited sex from undercover officers along U.S. 1.
An HSI spokeswoman states the arrests were on state charges and that there have not been implications of human trafficking. However, federal investigators will interview them to try and garner information that may help crack a prostitution ring.
The 23 men arrested in the sting operation are a diverse group ranging in age from 21 to 63. They are residents of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Washington, or Virginia. Each person arrested was charged with the MD crime of solicitation, which is considered a misdemeanor crime punishable by up to one year in prison and a $500 fine. Female officers posed as prostitutes for the joint sting operation, which took place on September 20.
Rather than pursue cases regarding immigration violations, HSI agents build criminal cases that may have an international connection. Homeland Security Investigations is the lead federal law enforcement agency responsible for tackling human trafficking. The federal agency indicted 444 people on trafficking charges and convicted 271 nationwide in 2011.
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