Men arrested in prostitution sting

March 12, 2008 5:42:13 PM PDT
Houston police officers went on a prostitution bust on the northeast side yesterday.Vice worked with patrol officers to arrest more than a dozen people in the area near Liberty and Gregg, a notorious hotbed for street-walkers.

It was what authorities call a "reverse sting," focusing on the johns. First, police sweep the targeted area for those believed to be selling sex. They arrest alleged prostitutes, then plant their own decoys.

"Sometimes you don't have to do anything. You just stand there. These guys are after you like vultures. When they want something, they're there," said an HPD undercover officer working on the sting.

The minute the men make a proposition, they are arrested. Police say the men often set their own price, as much as $25 to as low as a burger and some fries in exchange for sex. The following 10 suspects were arrested and charged with solicitation of prostitution:

  • Jose Viramontes, 38
  • Marcella Sosa, 39
  • Rene Melendez, 43
  • Kenneth Scott, 58
  • Erick Boliver, 28
  • Gerbeth Portillo, 36
  • Juvenile male, 16
  • Furlow Zachary, 48 - Charged with possession of a controlled substance.
  • Jazmine Compton, 21
  • Sherlie Caraway, 44 - Charged with possession of a controlled substance.
Boliver had applied in January to become a Houston police officer.

HPD Captain Glenn Yorek said, "He just applied, that's all. He's not in the academy or anything like that."

The sting operation was the result of repeated complaints from area residents.

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