Sting Nets 12 Men on Prostitute-Solicitation Charges
Twelve men have been arrested and charged with soliciting prostitution in a reverse sting operation involving female undercover police officers.
The roundup, conducted between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. Wednesday, was made in response to complaints from business owners, residents and motorists in the area of 1st Street, between El Camino Real and A Street.
Police Capt. Fred Wakefield said the crackdown was at least the third in a series of prostitution operations his department has made in the area that for years has been a haven for prostitutes and their customers.
Describing Wednesday’s operation targeting male customers as a step toward “equal opportunity” law enforcement, Wakefield warned that similar operations would be launched in the area.
“There are two sides to the problem,” Wakefield said. “You’ve got the ladies and the men who are seeking their services. Both sides of that equation are violations of the law and contribute to the problem.”
The captain said reverse stings involving prostitutes have been performed in the past by his department and other law enforcement agencies in Orange County.
Wakefield said the operation involved two female undercover officers who worked the area at different times. He said the women also were provided backup units in making the arrests.
Those arrested on the misdemeanor charge were Danny A. Silva, 22, of Whittier; Glen C. Shea, 27, Mission Viejo; Harvey H. Bejarano, 24, Santa Ana; Stephen G. Holcomb, 44, Irvine; Paul Ruseler, 37, Orange; Ioan P. Heredea, 43, Orange; Rey E. Smith, 25, Laguna Hills; Steven M. Herckt, 23, Orange; Calvin D. Kurz, 44, Corona; Thomas D. Powell, 43, Placentia; John H. Cunningham, 39, Tustin; and Rafael M. Santana, 39, Orange.
Police said all were taken into custody without incident, cited and released.
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