A Kenyan man is cooling his heels at a police station in Lowell, Massachusetts, following a prostitution sting operation.
Kelly Warui, 22, was one of eight people arrested following a police raid in response to community complaints about prostitution in certain parts of the area.
The Lowell Sun reports that police launched a “prostitution sweep” that resulted in the arrest of four males and four women.
Cypher Anderson, 22, of East Boston, New Hampshire, Uyhout Eav, 24, of Lowell, and Williams Guzman, 43, of Lowell were the other three males nabbed alongside Warui.
The four were accused of trying to hire a prostitute.
Following arraignment, Lisa Blake, 41, of Lowell, was charged with offering sex for money, while two other female defendants’ had sexual behavior for compensation charges dismissed.
The Middlesex District Attorney’s Office did not specify why the charges were dismissed.
During the operation, a fourth lady was charged with an outstanding warrant, said the police.
Judge Daniel Crane arraigned all of the accused in Lowell District Court, and they were all freed on their own recognizance with return dates set for June.
According to Interim Police Superintendent Barry Golner, officers conducted the operation in response to complaints voiced by community organizations and the City Council about rampant prostitution on city streets.
He said the sweep was led by Capt. Frank Nobrega, the department’s chief of investigative services.
According to court filings, detectives would pose as “Johns” in automobiles before making contact with a suspect offering sex for money, after which other cops would step in and make an arrest.
Female police officers posing as streetwalkers were frequently used in reverse stings. They wait until a “John” approaches them before sending in more cops to make an arrest.
“This is something the police department used to do more of, but like anything, it’s manpower and funding to conduct operations and a lot of planning, so we want to make sure we do things right,” Golner said.