Howard County police have arrested 13 men for soliciting prostitution at a hotel in the 8100 block of Washington Boulevard in Jessup.
According to a police report, the "reverse prostitution operation" began when detectives placed a fake ad on the Backpage website, which is frequently used for prostitution. After calling the number online, men spoke with undercover female officers, who then gave them a meeting location.
When the men arrived at the hotel, police said they were arrested and charged with solicitation of prostitution and disorderly conduct.
Police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn said the following men have been charged: Wendell Eric Lockhart, 55, of Sykesville; Oscar Romero, 33, of Laurel; Justo Portocarrero Gonzales, 50, of Laurel; Marvin Burton Cornish III, 26, of Laurel; Vinit Erun Patil, 26, of Columbia; Henry D. Sagastume, 32, of Owings Mills; Jose Cisneros Saiguero, 21, of Laurel; Gangida C. Gwanyama, 22, of Laurel; Mark Bryan Rix, 53, of McLean, Va.; Gautam Gupal Dravid, 43, of Elkridge; Juan A Hernandez, 43, of Gaithersburg; Jam-Pav James Wu, 44, of Baltimore; and Robert L. Osborne, 36, of Lanham.
This latest operation is part of an ongoing effort to stop prostitution and human trafficking in Howard County. By posting ads on similar websites, police are warning people of the dangers and penalties involved with these charges.
Earlier this month, Howard police arrested 8 men in a similar operation at a Route 1 hotel in North Laurel.
A Delaware woman— Janice Figueroa, 19—was also arrested and charged on Feb. 17 with human trafficking of a juvenile. A warrant was issued for her accomplice, 28-year-old Nathaniel Lee Thompson, who remains at large.
To report prostitution or human trafficking, contact 911 or 410-313-3200 to speak privately to a detective. The tip line is also available at 410-290-3784 or firstname.lastname@example.org.