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Clearwater police arrest 24 in undercover prostitution sting

CLEARWATER — Police arrested 24 men and women on prostitution charges this week during an undercover sting operation dubbed "Operation Cheap Trick."

Officers made arrests by posing as customers and prostitutes in East Gateway, an area known for prostitution. East Gateway is south of Drew Street and north of Court Street, east of Missouri Avenue and west of Highland Avenue.

Male officers targeted suspected prostitutes, and female officers targeted men who hire them, said police chief Tony Holloway.

Police arrested eight people Monday and 17 Thursday.

Police incorrectly announced 25 arrests in an early Friday release.

The following were arrested on a misdemeanor charge of soliciting prostitution:

Charles Mainier, 53, Tampa

Leonard Waters, 49, Clearwater

Jariel Candelario, 31, Clearwater

Anthony Cotugno, 63, Clearwater

Delfino Panzo, 30, Clearwater

Jose M. Arriaga, 34, Palm Harbor

Gabriel Moreno-Flores, 34, transient

Miguel A. Cruz Vega, 23, Clearwater

Larry Bryant, 57, Clearwater

Victor Ibarra-Rangel, 33, Clearwater

Luis Medina, 43, Clearwater

Jose A. Perez, 34, Clearwater

Loren C. Wilhite, 82, Largo

Thomas Jones, 44, Clearwater

Jaime P. Jimenez, 30, Largo

Armando Corona-Hernandez, 26, Largo

Jessica Rioux, 28, transient

Brittney M. Hoyt-Wier, 23, Largo

Ninoshka Casanova, 38, Clearwater

The following women were arrested on a felony prostitution charge:

Sherrena Esham, 25, Clearwater

Danielle Hansen, 41, Largo

Victoria Murray, 46, Largo

Darla Stephen, 38, Clearwater

Nikki L. Lee, 37, Clearwater

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Clearwater police arrest 24 in undercover prostitution sting 05/07/10 [Last modified: Friday, May 7, 2010 7:30pm]

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