Howard County police, responding to merchants' complaints about prostitution, swept across U.S. 1 and Whiskey Bottom Road on Thursday night and arrested 12 men on charges of solicitation and lewd behavior.
The 2 1/2 -hour raid in Laurel began at 5 p.m. when a squad of 10 officers began arresting men attempting to solicit sex from undercover policewomen, police said.
Drawn to the area's commercial-industrial corridor, prostitutes and their customers find it easy to meet at nearby motels and isolated industrial parks, according to police.
"You've got a lot of traffic in that area," said police spokesman Sgt. Steven Keller. "They set up in an area where they can complete their transaction or act."
Men arrested during Thursday night's raid ranged in age from 26 to 51 and came from as far away as Glen Arden, Baltimore and Fort Meade.
Police said there were so many men looking for prostitutes that even as suspects were being placed under arrest, others continued to approach undercover officers.
All those arrested were released on personal recognizance by a District Court commissioner, receiving a court date of 1:15 p.m. Aug. 9.
Police also are targeting prostitutes in the area. Earlier this month, officers arrested a prostitute in the same area where Thurday's raid took place.
By focusing on prostitutes and customers alike, "you're going against both offending parties," Sergeant Keller said. "That's the best way to eliminate the problem."
Arrested on charges of solicitation and lewd behavior were:
* Bonney Frederick Archable, 33, of the 2500 block of Talbot Road in Baltimore.
* John Thomas Bell, 43, of the 12300 block of Scaggsville Road in Fulton.
* Michael Hildor Blair, 30, of the 1600 block of Shannon Circle in Severn.
* Richard Allen Bunk, 51, of the 7300 block of Woodbine Road in Woodbine.
* Thomas Tyrone Cheek, 34, of the 3600 block of Tyrol Drive in Glen Arden.
* Larry Darnell Foster, 38, of the 3500 block of Fort Meade Road in Laurel.
* Lionel Robert Heard, 26, of the 9500 block of Sylvan Still Road in Laurel.
* William David Inzana, 41, of the 7200 block of Procopio Circle in Columbia.
* Paul Roy Muth, 41, 9400 block of Canterbury Riding in Laurel.
* James Mathew Perschy, 32, of the 8900 block of Blade Green Way in Columbia.
* James William Ramage, 31, of the 9700 block of Whiskey Run in Laurel.
* Robert Sanders Sivilas, 30, of the 2900 block of Olive Court in Fort Meade.