Howard County police, along with other county, state and federal law enforcement officers, arrested 23 men in a reverse prostitution sting last week, according to a news release.
The operation, which was carried out on Thursday, Sept. 20, was conducted across the jurisdictions of Howard County, Anne Arundel County and the city of Laurel by officers from each department.
The three local police departments also operated in conjuction with special agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and detectives and officers of the Maryland State Police.
Of the 23 men arrested in the joint operation, 14 were arrested by Howard County police.
“We welcome the opportunity to partner with other agencies in our efforts to send the message that Howard County will not tolerate prostitution,” said Howard County Police Chief William McMahon. “The disruption to neighborhoods brought on by these crimes is unacceptable. We continue to work with our communities to improve and preserve their quality of life.”
Of those 14, eight were from Maryland and two were from Howard County, including a man from Columbia and a man from Jessup.
“This is a public safety concern that crosses jurisdictional boundaries and we believe coordinating our efforts lead to a more successful enforcement initiative,” said Col. Marcus Brown, superintendent of the Maryland State Police. “Our goal is to provide effective enforcement that addresses organized crime, while increasing the level of safety for the citizens of Maryland.”
HSI Special Agent in Charge William Winter said his department spearheaded the tri-county initiative.
"HSI together with our local and state law enforcement partners are committed to protecting Maryland communities and continue to identify and dismantle the criminal organizations involved in these illicit activities," Winter said in a statement.
The cases are being prosecuted by Anne Arundel County State's Attorney's Office, the Howard County Office of the State's Attorney and the Prince George's County Office of the States Attorney, the release said.
Police said the investigation is continuing.